How Does Modified Atmosphere Packaging Protect Food?

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Nowadays, people increasingly need to solve food preservation problems. There are many kinds of packaging available in the market for consumers to choose from. Today, we are going to introduce modified atmosphere packaging. Compared with other packaging methods, modified atmosphere packaging can better prolong the preservation period of food without affecting its flavor. At present, it has been widely used in the food industry, especially fresh meat, cooked food and so on.

What is modified atmosphere packaging?

A modified atmosphere can be defined as one that is specially created by altering the natural distribution and makeup of atmospheric gases. When applied to packaging, this involves modifying or controlling the makeup of gases contained within each package to provide optimal conditions for increasing the shelf life and reducing oxidation and spoilage of perishable food and beverage products.

modified atmosphere packaging

Packaging Equipment

Modified atmosphere packaging can be completed by a fully automatic thermoforming packaging machine. Its working principle is to heat and soften the plastic sheet to a formable state to form a rigid tray. After packing the product into the tray, cover the tray with film and seal. During the sealing process, the air in the package is evacuated and filled with mixed gas, which can be oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Modified atmosphere packaging changes the gas environment in the packaging and greatly prolongs the preservation period.

Removing oxygen from packaging

One of the ways in which MAP helps protects foods is by a process called gas flushing. Nitrogen is often used to decrease the amount of Oxygen in a sealed food package, because Oxygen can accelarate food’s spoilage. Nitrogen in an option for a flush gas to remove excess Oxygen from the container to displace the Oxygen because it reduces the risk of growth of aerobic organisms.

The atmosphere inside the package must be carefully balanced. The Nitrogen will displace the Oxygen, but it will also remove the moisture. Gases will always seek equilibrium, and some of the displaced moisture is still needed inside the package to maintain texture and the red color that you see in some meats. CO2 can then be used to support moisture and lower pH to optimize the packaging environment. 

modified atmosphere packaging

Working with barrier films for food protection

The right barrier can increase protection on packaged foods. The films decreases the absorption of moisture and Oxygen. Plastic films and foils are used to seal the MAP food packaging. Once Nitrogen or other gas flushes the Oxygen out from the package, the barrier film protects the food from further involvement with Oxygen.

Packaging films are selected based on the characteristics of the food product and the permeability properties of the selected protection. Basically, the barrier is an extra layer of protection for preservation that maintains the atmosphere in the package. 

Reduces use of preservatives

One of the latest food trends is food made without preservatives or GMOs. People like to know that the contents of their food is healthy food and is not artificial.

A benefit of modified atmospheric packaging is that is does not use preservatives to maintain freshness. MAP slows deterioration and preserves quality.

Because the gas flushing removed unwanted Oxygen from the packaging, it is not necessary to add preservatives to maintain taste and texture and prevent spoiling. Not only is this appealing to consumers, but also simplifies the food packaging process overall.

Cost effective 

MAP is a cost-effective way of packaging food because it extends market reach. Since products can stay fresh longer, they can be transported further from the origin facility. This increases distribution of the product. In addition, products have a longer shelf-life which decreases the frequency of deliveries and reduces expenses.

The longer freshness cycle reduces frequent product rotation and restocking, which in turn reduces labor. And because the product does not spoil as quickly, there are fewer products return for expired, damaged, or discolored products. Overall, testing for MAP reduces waste from the very start of production.

Searching for thermoforming MAP packaging machine?

Utien provides customized services for different types of products and designs perfect packaging solutions for various packaging products.If you have any need for thermoform MAP packaging machine, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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