Why Modified Atmosphere Packaging?
Today’s families are rejecting fast food meals and overly-processed food in favor of fresh, wholesome ingredients. Terms like farm-to-table” and “clean living” are making their way into our hearts as well as our homes. Thankfully, the food industries have followed suit and can offer freshness to consumers tables through the use of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technology.
MAP is a process used that extends the shelf life of fresh food. Its simplified steps help to maintain the original color, texture, and overall freshness of the products and produce that we eat. You may have also heard MAP be referred to as gas flushing, flush seal, protective atmosphere packaging or reduced oxygen packaging. The technology substitutes the atmospheric air inside a package with a protective gas mix. The gas in the package helps to ensure that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible.
The Air is the Culprit!
For years, farmers and ranchers have raced against time to get their products to market. The reason for their hurry was knowing that the biggest ticking time bomb for food quality deterioration is the air we breathe. The longer our food is exposed to oxygen – the fastest its shelf life will reduce. What causes these changes within foods? Some of the primary culprits are air, moisture, light, temperature, and microbial growth. When food is exposed to air, microorganisms can land on the food and begin their work of breaking down the food for their own uses. The presence of oxygen enhances the growth of microorganisms, such as molds and yeasts, and contributes directly to deterioration of fats, vitamins, flavors, and colors within foods through the work of enzymes.
How does Modified Atmosphere Packaging work?
To package a product in a modified atmosphere requires machinery to flush out air from the packaging chamber and replace it with a different gas or a defined mixture of gases, then seal the product in the packaging so that only the modified atmosphere surrounds the product and not any other unwanted gas. Products packed with MAP cause no harm to texture or appearance in your products, and extend the shelf life. Innovative technologies have been developed to ensure that the gas mixture is the correct one and the sealed packages do not leak.