Hot Fill vs Cold Fill – What’s The Difference?

Hot Fill vs Cold Fill.

If you have a product that you’re considering co-packing one of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether to use the hot fill vs cold fill method. However, before you can make that decision you’ll first have to understand how each of these processes works. Here is a brief description of how the hot fill and cold fill packaging processes work.

Hot fill.

The hot fill process uses heat to sterilize both the product and its container during the food packaging process. The hot fill process starts by heating the food product up to a temperature between 194 and 203 degrees Fahrenheit and the injecting the hot liquid into the packing container. Both the container and the food product are kept at this temperature for 15-20 seconds to ensure there are no bacteria in the food or its packaging. After the heat cycle, the containers rest until the temperature has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, it’s time to seal the packages and allow them to fully cool down.

Hot filling is used for packing food products that are acidic. Examples of food products work with the hot filling process include sodas, vinegar and vinegar based sauces, sports drinks and fruit and vegetable juices. There are several different types of containers that work well with the hot-fill process such as glass, cardboard and some (but not all) plastics.

Cold fill.

In contrast to the hot fill method, which uses heat to sterilize, the cold fill method uses extreme cold to kill bacteria. The cold fill process blasts the food packaging with icy cold air to sterilize it before it’s filled with food. The food also remains cool until it is time to fill the containers. Cold filling is popular with many of our clients because they do not need to use preservatives or other food additives to protect food from the high heat of the hot fill process.

Cold filling is used for packing food products that have dairy as a main ingredient. Therefore any food that has milk or cream as its base is suitable for the cold filling process. Almost any packaging container works well for the cold fill process.

If you are still deciding between hot fill vs cold fill, contact Palace Foods Inc today to see what process will work best for you.