The Air in There: Benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging

September 22, 2015

Being able to control the weather has been the dream of wedding planners and supervillains alike. But for food packaging manufacturers, the desire to regulate the atmosphere has less to do with pretty pictures or taking control of the Eastern Seaboard and more to do with the preservation of the product.

It may sound crazy at first, but a lot of thought goes into the empty space in food packaging. From bags of chips and boxes of cereal to the smaller pockets or air in shrink-wrapped cuts of beef, air is always there. Of course “air” isn’t even really a thing. That’s just what we call the space where things aren’t. Nitrogen, Oxygen, CO2, etc. are all in there. And the right blend of gases that fill the empty space (atmosphere packaging) can have a big effect on the bottom line.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily new information for seasoned food manufacturers and distributors. But then again, what about innovative new materials that are more sustainable and perform better? Are you appraising new technologies and materials to see if they can help you gain an edge on the competition?

One such example of growth areas was covered by Eva Almanar of the Michigan State School of Packaging in a recent Packaging Digest article,

Another type of packaging materials growing in use are “breathable” materials. Among these materials, microperforated films are used when high gas and/or vapor exchange through the package is required—as it is in the case of produce packaging. Changing the number, position, area and length of the microperforations allows the development of in-package atmospheres that match produce needs for shelf-life extension.

EPS_fizzy sodaAs anyone who has forgotten to put the cap back on a 2-liter bottle of soda knows, air is the enemy when it comes to food and beverage. Freshness, crunchiness, fizziness, tastiness and all the other ness’s you can think of are diminished when food and drink is exposed to open air for too long. So the battle for quality products depends on your ability to control the atmosphere where your product resides.

In-packaging atmosphere control helps in a multitude of ways. It can extend the shelf life of your food which means you reduce food losses and can even send your product to more distant markets. Additionally, it can improve food safety as some product can become toxic if exposed to certain atmospheric conditions.

The market is quick to adjust to new trends. If you haven’t taken a good hard look at your packages’ atmospheric conditions, expanding reach or launching a new product line, it may be time to evaluate your processes. Ernest Packaging Solutions isn’t afraid to take on a big challenge or rethink the old ways of doing things. It’s how we keep packaging moving forward (instead of, you know, just doing the same old thing). Contact us today to learn more!