Ovenable and bakeable packaging remove a prep step for busy consumers.

Direct package-to-oven bakery products aren’t a new concept, as anyone who remembers the Stir ‘N Frost line from General Mills, Minneapolis, in the late 1970s can attest. While the idea of having an oven-ready pan or tray has been around for decades, the emergence of new types of bakeable packaging underscores the ongoing demand for convenience-oriented, homemade-tasting products that use contemporary packaging technologies.

Bakeable packaging innovations include an array of snacks, sweets and meals. Charlotte, NC-based Stefano Foods, a division of Smithfield Foods, launched four products in bakeable packaging, including two 9-oz. panini products. The packaging is sustainable, recyclable and bakeable; users remove the clear lid and sauce pack and put the panini or Stromboli in its oven-ready tray into an oven or microwave. The packaging also offers extend shelf life, up to 14 days.

Perfect Crust, Minnetonka, MN, offers “advance baking technology” with its bakeable pizza tray. The tray features patented two-directional “bumps” that enable air flow and moisture release for even baking.

Some appetizers lend themselves to bakeable packaging as well.  The Perfect Bite Co. of Glendale, CA, for example, offers a variety of appetizers merchandised with a bakeable tray that goes into the oven on a lined baking pan.

While bakeable trays are one focus of package design, ovenable films represent another area of innovation for baked goods and meals. Multivac, Inc. is one example, providing a line of dual-ovenable Mylar BAKE films designed for preparation in the cooking vessel.

The trend for straight-to-oven packaging at both the retail and foodservice levels is likely to continue, given continued interest in convenience and sustainability, in terms of reduced packaging.  PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, noted in a 2016 report on food packaging that the major trends in packaging across all segments are sustainability, flexibility, convenience, technology and safety.