Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) using CO2 to stabilize perishable and non-perishable foods has been around a while. It has proven to be a reliable way to reduce spoilage, discoloration and dehydration of many food products.
Researchers continue to study the technology to figure out ways to make it more cost-effective and foolproof for food producers. Here are 3 things about MAP that they suggest:
Check your packaging.
A recent study on MAP sought to identify ways that producers might save money using the CO2 technology. The researchers purchased a variety of foods with different shelf longevity and studied both bagged products and those with a base and lid.
They found an increase in oxygen in some MAP packaging and attribute some increases to the permeability of the base container. There was sometimes a twofold increase in permeability when compared to the lids. This means packagers need to design liners or better bases for their MAP produce, meats and other goods.
Another conclusion of the researchers is that the lids may be over-engineered for their purposes. For example, a product with a short shelf life won't need as impermeable a lid as products with extended shelf lives. Producers can save money by choosing the right package lid for the product they're sealing.
Investigate non-invasive gas testing.
Current testing equipment for the suitability of package environments is done via an invasive in-line system which can often damage or otherwise compromise the product. The procedure also has the potential to falsely identify packages as unsuitable due to false leak measurements.
A new procedure has been developed that uses infrared technology to determine the atmosphere in packaging. The developers of this new testing method claim the system can scan up to 180 packages a minute. It can also detect leaks as tiny as 0.5 mm in size.
This exciting new packaging test method was used in non-food industries first including testing refrigerant leaks. Look for infrared scanning products to come onto the market soon to make your lines less prone to losses due to invasive testing and false positives.
Experiment with new foods to bring to market.
With MAP it may now be possible to introduce new foods to diverse markets. One example is the prickly pear, a fruit beloved by many for its succulent and sweet texture and taste.
A great deal of prickly pear fruit is lost after harvesting because the fruit dries out, the peel darkens and it becomes susceptible to the growth of microbial organisms. This poses a problem for local and long distance storage and shipping.
Recently tests were conducted using passive and active MAP and results were analyzed taking into account taste, texture, color and scent. Storing prickly pears in active and passive atmospheres kept dehydration, external color changes and weight loss in check. Fruit stored at a lower temperature did a bit better in the tests, but all fruit was protected by MAP. Food producers should consider MAP for other perishable products they may have avoided handling. It's an innovative way to increase their product line.
As MAP technology improves this will mean more choices for consumers and profits for producers. If you have a fragile product and want to save money and expand your territory consider MAP a serious business partner. To learn more, contact a company like Terry Supply Co.