Worried about shelf life? If you are in the specialty food industry, extending shelf life is probably something you think about every day. Modified atmosphere packaging is a solution that might be exactly what you need to preserve and protect your food product, keeping it fresh for as long as possible. Here are a few quick facts about this type of packaging.
1. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Keeps Oxygen Out
While oxygen is essential for humankind, its effect on food products is not quite as positive. By removing oxygen from a package, you can extend the shelf life of that item by days or weeks. In addition to keeping oxygen out, other gases are added to further preserve the look and quality of the food item. For instance, carbon dioxide might be added as a preserving gas or perhaps nitrogen.
The type of gas that is used in your packaging will depend upon the type of food product that you sell. For instance, dried food products such as pasta or dried fruit as well as fresh fruit and vegetables will be treated with nitrogen. Fresh pasta, soft cheeses, cooked meats, raw oily fish and raw poultry as well as ready-made meals might be treated with a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Bakery goods and hard cheeses might need only carbon dioxide to help extend their shelf life and freshness.
2. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Is Not New
While advancements in modified atmosphere packaging are being made all of the time, this idea behind this type of packaging is not a new one. In the 1930s, carbon dioxide was pumped into food storage rooms on ships to prolong the life of fruits and vegetables. The first modified atmosphere packages hit store shelves back in the 1970s, primarily to prolong the life of different cuts of meat. Today, of course, we use modified atmosphere packaging for a much wider variety of fresh and dried foods.
3. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Works For Many Products
While you might associate modified atmosphere packaging with products such as hamburger, steak and other raw meat and poultry, it can be used for many other products. This includes luncheon meats and cured meats, seafood, hard and soft cheeses, grated cheeses, fresh and dried pasta and all types of vegetables and fruits. Pre-packaged sandwiches and ready meals also can be preserved with this type of packaging, and even some bakery goods.
4. The Added Costs Can Be Well Worth It
While using modified atmosphere packaging can be a pricier option at the outset, allowing foods to enjoy a longer shelf life can be cost-saving in general. After all, if your meat once had a shelf life of just five days and we could double that time or extend it even further, then you have the opportunity to sell your product for a longer stretch of time. Additionally, with the extended shelf life, you can ship your product further than ever before, extending your market.
5. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Is A Healthier Choice
Modified atmosphere packaging is a healthier choice for the consumer as well as for the planet. This type of packaging reduces food waste, which a huge benefit. Additionally, with modified atmosphere packaging, the use of artificial preservatives is not as necessary, which makes your product a healthier option for consumers.
If you are interested in learning more about modified atmosphere packaging as well as our many other specialty foods packaging options, give the team at Indepak at call at any time. Since 1967, we have served the specialty food market by providing high-quality custom packaging and thermoform trays.