Prefilled Enteral Pouch Wins Highest 2022 FPA Award

The EnteraLoc is a 510(k) FDA-approved enteral device designed for tube-fed patients. It’s a flexible spouted pouch with a leak-proof seal, for direct-connect delivery of nutrition in a safe and convenient manner.


Quick hits:

  • The EnteraLoc device, marketed by Medtrition, and developed by Vonco Products along with others, won the Flexible Packaging Association’s highest achievement award, as well as gold awards in Packaging Excellence, Sustainability, Technical Innovation, and Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging.
  • EnteraLoc’s prefilled pouch offers a simple connection—a squeeze of the pouch quickly and safely administers nutrients to tube-fed patients. This eliminates at-times messt dissolving or mixing steps.
  • For patients and caregivers, the system represents a time-saving and dignified feeding option offering mobility in an easy-to-grasp pouch. Feeding with EnteraLoc may only require 25% of the time it used to with traditional feeding components, allowing busy nurses to concentrate on other tasks at hand.
  • It is a contract manufactured medical device sold by brand owners—using their liquid or blenderized formula—direct to hospitals, health systems, and home care patients. 

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Hi, I’m Keren Sookne with another episode of Take Five with Healthcare Packaging.

Today we’re talking about the EnteraLoc™ enteral feeding device, the highest achievement award winner from the 2022 FPA awards.

The EnteraLoc is a 510(k) FDA-approved enteral device designed for tube-fed patients. It’s a flexible spouted pouch with a leak-proof seal, for direct-connect delivery of nutrition in a safe and convenient manner. 

Now, beyond winning FPA’s Highest Achievement Award, the system garnered an impressive four Gold Awards in Packaging Excellence, Sustainability, Technical Innovation, and Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging.

The device is marketed by Medtrition, and was developed by Vonco Products, along with contribution from nutritionDay (in the U.S.), Hoffer Plastics Corporation, Truitt Brothers/Baxter’s Foods, GEDSA, and the Oley Foundation. 

Let’s talk about what the device entails. It’s a seamless, closed-loop system that combines nutritious meals with:

  • a flexible pouch
  • leak-proof seal
  • custom-designed spout
  • and direct-connect ENFit® device in one complete enteral feeding system.

In the U.S. alone, more than 1 million patients are placed on feeding tubes to sustain life and/or improve healing.

Traditional methods of enteral feeding include bottles, cans, or Tetra-style packs with liquid nutrients. Depending on the format, there may be mixing or dissolving steps with measuring cups that can be time-consuming or messy.

These steps are something I’ve experienced first-hand, as my little sister was tube-fed via a g-button. While syringes, bags, and connectors worked, leaks were a messy and stressful part of feeding time—not only are you left with a mess to clean up with rather sticky formula which is quite inconvenient—but for a bigger spill, you wonder if they missed out on needed calories and if you should mix a new batch or open a new can.

Patients and caregivers also risk clogged or occluded tubes if the nutrient is not properly mixed or thin enough.

Vonco sought to improve nutrition and hydration by providing a convenient method of gastrointestinal delivery designed to be simple, safe, mess-free, and portable—eliminating those at-times messy dissolving and mixing steps.

EnteraLoc offers a simple connection and a squeeze of the pouch quickly and safely administers nutrients. The ENFit connector on the end of the feeding tube will only connect with an ENFit-compatible enteral port.

The goal here is ultimately higher rates of administration for improved compliance and outcomes.

For patients and caregivers, the system represents a time-saving and dignified feeding option offering mobility in an easy-to-grasp pouch. And as Vonco highlights, feeding with EnteraLoc may only require 25% of the time it used to with traditional feeding components, allowing busy nurses to concentrate on other tasks at hand.

We’ve talked about the need… now let’s talk details.

The flexible package allows for near total evacuation of the product, and the leak-proof seal prevents leaks in transit, warehousing, or use, resulting in less waste.

The pre-filled system also eliminates the need for traditional enteral packaging in the form of bottles, cans or Tetra-style packs. When compared with rigid plastic bottles, Vonco reports that the lighter and more portable package uses up to 60% less plastic while requiring approximately 50% less energy to produce. The design is also reported to require fewer trucks for transportation compared to rigid containers, reducing carbon footprints associated with shipping.

This is a contract manufactured medical device sold by brand owners—using their liquid or blenderized formula—direct to hospitals, health systems, and home care patients.

It’s fully customized by the brand owner, including preferred formulation, pouch designs, shapes, sizes, hang holes, and spout locations. Pouches are available in several sizes to meet patient needs from 60 to 1000 mL. They feature a laminated and custom-printed structure suitable for the harsh retort environment required for high protein formulations.

In terms of production, the EnteraLoc spout was designed specifically to accommodate high-speed filling; the caps can be used in the same feeder bowl system, enabling an easy changeover on the filling line. As a turnkey solution, EnteraLoc reduces complexity, as well as costs and risks of sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing enteral feeding.

Available QR codes and peel-off labels can also increase patient engagement.

That’s all for today. See you next time at Take Five video for Healthcare Packaging.

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