Blanketing The Future: Nitrogen’s Role In Food Packaging And Preservation


Food preservation is a vital part of food production. When not taken seriously, the consequences can be dire. Consumers can end up ingesting stale food, creating an unpleasant experience and sometimes, health challenges. As a result, food production companies are compelled to prioritize food preservation to provide the best results.

Gas Flushing

Gas flushing is one of the most common methods of food preservation. The process, also known as Modified Atmosphere Package (MAP) involves using a specific gas or a combination of gases to create a suitable environment for the food in order to extend its shelf-life.

Atmospheric air is made up of about 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and trace amounts of other gases. When exposed to atmospheric air, some foods (especially dried foods) can react with the Oxygen present and end up changing taste. Hence, a need for gas flushing.

Nitrogen As A Packaging Gas For Food Preservation

Nitrogen gas is a suitable gas for gas flushing because of its ability to displace Oxygen. Oxygen’s elimination is vital because it easily reacts with bacteria to thrive on foods, speeding up its decomposition process. Certain bacteria like mold and mildew depend on Oxygen to grow. Hence, Oxygen’s presence gives them enough breathing ground to flourish.

Nitrogen’s odorless and tasteless nature makes it a great fit for food preservation as it has no effect on the food.

How Does It Work?

The first step in Nitrogen flushing is to put the food item to be preserved in an unsealed pack. Nitrogen supplied from a Nitrogen generator or gotten directly from a Nitrogen cylinder is then introduced into the pack, displacing Oxygen. The package is then sealed immediately to trap the Nitrogen and prevent oxidation.

Benefits Of Nitrogen As A Preservative

Longer Shelf Life

By creating an oxygen-free environment, nitrogen helps preserve the freshness, flavor, and nutritional quality of packaged foods. This process significantly extends the shelf life of various products, particularly those prone to oxidative degradation, contributing to improved food safety and reduced waste.

Food Safety

Food safety is improved when there is little oxygen present since the likelihood of aerobic microbe development is reduced. Nitrogen creates a regulated environment that protects packed food from decomposition and maintains its safety for ingestion, preserving its quality and integrity.

Reduces Additives

Nitrogen, used as a preservative, diminishes the necessity for additives in food. By displacing oxygen, it creates an environment that hinders oxidative reactions and microbial growth, minimizing the need for chemical preservatives.

As a result, relying on nitrogen preservation allows for a reduction in the usage of artificial additives, contributing to a more natural and additive-free approach to food packaging.

Impact On The Environment

Nitrogen, employed as a food preservative, positively impacts the environment by reducing the reliance on chemical preservatives. Its inert nature minimizes the need for synthetic additives, contributing to a decrease in potentially harmful substances released into the ecosystem.
Additionally, nitrogen preservation extends the shelf life of products, reducing food waste and its associated environmental footprint. This eco-friendly approach aligns with sustainable practices, promoting a more environmentally conscious method of food preservation.

At nexAir, we understand the importance of food preservation, which is why we are committed to supplying food production companies with pure Nitrogen. Our years of experience in this field coupled with our skilled personnel place us above our counterparts. Visit our website today to see the various ways we are ready to serve you.

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