What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging?
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a technique used to extend the shelf-life of fresh or minimally processed foods.
In this preservation technique the air surrounding foods in the package is changed to another composition.
This way the initial fresh state of the product may be extended.
It is the shelf-life of perishable products like meat, fish, fruits and vegetables that will be extended with MAP since it slows the natural deterioration of the product.
MAP is used with various types of products, where the mixture of gases in the package depends on the type of product, packaging materials and storage temperature.
Food is different - so is gas composition used to pack different food products. Red meat needs high oxygen to maintain the red colour, bread requires low oxygen to avoid mould and vegetables often need a three-gas mixture.
Packing a product in a modified atmosphere requires sophisticated machinery to flush out air from the packaging chamber and replace it with a different gas or precisely defined mixture of gases, then seal seal it so that only the modified atmosphere surrounds the product and not any other unwanted gas.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging Advantages:
Longer shelf life due to MAP packages allow food processors, food manufacturers, food distributors and food retailers to better control product quality, availability and costs.
Longer freshness cycles permit grocers to eliminate frequent product rotation, removal and restocking; thereby reducing labour and waste disposal costs.
Distributors can extend distribution territories or offer a greater variety of product lines to the retailer, since less frequent product replacement requirements permits growth in other areas.
Food manufacturers are able to take advantage of extended replacement cycles to reduce production replacement demands. Manufacturing capacity can be more profitably utilised by developing and offering new products.