Worldwide, the number of dual-income households has increased astronomically. The increasing time constraints, especially among women, coupled with the easy availability of convenient food products, have led to a higher demand for packaged food and beverages. According to a Research Dive report, the packaged food products industry globally is expected to grow from $20,545 to approximately $35,000 by 2030.
But, with it comes the need for innovative packaging material that will prevent contamination and preserve quality.
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is particularly useful in prolonging the shelf life of fresh food products. It does so by limiting oxygen exposure and reducing oxidation. Learn more about it as you prepare to futureproof your packaged food and beverage business and Forge Forward.
What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging?
Modified atmosphere packaging is designed to control or modify oxygen levels, resulting in the extended freshness and shelf life of fresh produce and other food and beverage products. It uses different types and combinations of films to alter the natural distribution of atmospheric gases inside a package, depending on the product inside.
MAP generally prevents discoloration, spoilage, changes in taste and texture, and other signs of oxidation that make food products go bad, ensuring longer shelf life in the process. As a result, there has been a steadily growing demand for this type of packaging.
However, the FDA’s recently issued guidelines state that microorganisms react differently to different gases. Reduced oxygen levels, alongside higher carbon dioxide levels, might prevent spoilage microorganisms from spreading too quickly. But the same conditions could cause pathogenic microorganisms to multiply rapidly. It, therefore, advises manufacturers to check whether they’re using the right packaging for their products.
What Kind of Products Require Modified Atmosphere Packaging?
Modified atmosphere packaging in the food and beverage industry has one goal — to extend shelf life without compromising the taste and texture of products. There are different types of MAP technologies. Some of them are:
Arguably the most common MAP technology used for food products, the process involves pumping nitrogen into a package to reduce the oxygen level inside. This delays oxidation and slows down the growth of spoilage microorganisms.
Barrier packaging is designed for lower permeability of oxygen and moisture. This type of packaging film can also indicate food quality, temperature, and leakage.
Desiccant packs are most commonly found in pill bottles. They are small sachets usually containing silica that effectively absorb oxygen and moisture.
Pick the Right Packaging for Food and Beverage Products
Packaging plays a significant role, especially in the food and beverage industry. In addition, well-designed packaging also works as a medium of advertising and attracts more consumers.
But, what matters most is choosing the right packaging material. And while different food and beverage products require different types of packaging, modified atmosphere packaging can help keep consumables and perishables fresh for longer. It not only extends shelf life but also maintains the freshness of products.
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