Whether it’s the gourmet ground coffee or the variety of packaged snacks you buy at the store, quick spoilage is always the biggest threat to how long you may have to enjoy them. With most processed food items, natural deterioration is inevitable. However, the process can be slowed down by the quality of the packaging method and the effort put into the product before it hits the shelves. At nexAir, we are here to provide our customers with our expert KnowHow, helping them stay educated, prepared and ready to encounter any task or job that comes their way. You may ask yourself, what role do we have in food packaging? We are proud to be a leading gas supplier and play a huge role in the food processing and packaging industries.
What is modified atmosphere packaging?
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is one of the quickest and most effective packaging methods to help ensure that our food stays at the highest quality, during all stages. MAP can be defined as the practice of modifying the composition of the internal atmosphere of a package in order to improve the shelf life. The materials used in this process include packaging films, desiccant packs, on-package valves, gas detectors, sealers and of course, gas. The main purpose of MAP is to push out the oxygen that is causing the food to spoil, by actively pumping a harmless gas, such as nitrogen, into the bag before sealing. This is called gas flushing. Gas flushing is a very common practice because it effectively displaces oxygen delaying oxidation, decreases the growth of spoilage mechanisms and provides the bag with a filler to maintain shape and package conformity. Other gases and gas mixtures such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, argon or hydrogen can be used due to their unique properties which interact with foods or liquids. These gases can be mixed for each specific product or used individually.
What gases are used in MAP?
As previously mentioned, the main gas used during MAP is nitrogen. But, other gases and gas mixtures like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, argon and hydrogen can be used as well to achieve the same outcome.
- An inert gas that is used to prevent oxidation by pushing out ambient air during packaging.
- It has low solubility in water, helping to maintain internal pressure to prevent the package from collapsing.
- When using liquid nitrogen, the user can use a lot less of the gas in the process because it achieves container rigidity.
- Inhibits microbial activity by dissolving into the food’s liquid and fat phase and reducing the pH value.
- Can also cause changes in permeability by penetrating biological membranes.
Modified atmosphere packaging is an extremely effective packaging method that ensures the quality and freshness of the food while extending the shelf life by a matter of weeks. This process adds no unnecessary preservatives to the product, making it far more appealing to the average consumer. At nexAir, we are here to educate our customers and provide them with the gases and supplies that they need to Forge Forward. If you have any questions regarding the MAP process, or if you are ready to get started, please feel free to reach out. We would love to guide you and can’t wait to work with you!
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