With the growing demand for fresh and healthy food options amongst consumers, suppliers are in need of a way to meet this demand. Traditionally, preservatives and other chemicals have been added to foods to increase the shelf life of products. However, customers have become more conscious of these chemicals and the possible effects on their bodies. This is where modified atmosphere packaging comes into play.
Some of the advantages of using MAP over other packaging technologies include:
- Longer shelf-lives for products
- Better product quality
- Greater product availability
- Reduced need for preservatives
- Smaller amounts of product and package waste
What Is Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)?
Many of the spoiling issues that occur to perishable food and beverage products—e.g., discoloration, flavor or textural changes, and microbial growth—can be attributed to the presence of oxygen. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)—also known as reduced oxygen packaging—is designed to increase the shelf life of these goods by modifying the internal packaging conditions to promote greater product stability and longevity.
Using this technology, a mixture of pure oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen is introduced into the packaging process. This mixture extends the shelf life of fresh products and helps to maintain the visual appeal, texture, and nutritional benefits of the food.
How Does Modified Atmosphere Packaging Protect Food?
In contrast to other packaging methods, MAP protects perishables from both external and internal factors that promote product damage or degradation. The modification of the internal environment can occur either passively or actively. Passive MAP operations use specially selected packaging materials that encourage the natural development of the desired environmental conditions through the respiration of the contained products and the diffusion of gases into and out of the packaging. Microperforated top seal film is an example of this method. Active MAP operations replace the existing gas composition with a more desirable mixture (usually consisting of pure oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen). Both methods mitigate product spoilage without the addition of preservatives or other chemicals.
Many consumable goods benefit from MAP, including:
- Bakery: With proper packaging involving vacuum sealing or Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), bakery items like sandwiches, cakes, and desserts can be preserved for anywhere from two-and-a-half weeks to seven months
- Dairy: Milk and its derived products spoil easily without proper packaging. They must be protected from oxidation through MAP and perfect sealing.
- Meat: Raw meat and processed meat products lose color and flavor as they spoil. More importantly, spoilage may lead to food poisoning through bacterial contamination. It is important to use cutting-edge MAP to preserve meat products.
- Produce: Proper packing with MAP extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. It also preserves their freshness and nutritional value.
- Snacks: Various types and shapes of packaging are necessary for snacks. Thermoformed containers, cups, and trays sealed with film are great for packaging snacks.
Point Five Packaging’s MAP Packaging Machines & Materials
Point Five Packaging is a full-service food packaging and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system supplier. We offer the following packaging systems:
Tray sealers ensure products are fully protected from external contaminants. Compared to manual sealing methods, they reduce the amount of time and labor needed to complete sealing operations.
Vacuum chambers allow for the formation of airtight seals. In doing so, they help maintain product freshness, prevent freezer burn, improve product flavor, and/or reduce storage requirements.
High Barrier Films
High barrier films help to retain the flavor, texture, and appearance of a variety of foods including meat, poultry, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and more. These films are both oven and microwave safe, have a high and low gas barrier, and are perfect for prepared food that is roasted, steamed, boiled, or cooked in the packaging. They are high-clarity and possess anti-fog characteristics so the food inside stays visible to consumers.
For additional information about our packaging systems, visit our Packaging Systems page.
Why Use a MAP System?
You should consider a MAP system for your products because of the cost savings and consumer benefits. With selling fresh foods comes the risk of spoilage and any product the spoils cannot be sold. A MAP system extends the shelf life of your products. Second, once customers know that your products do not contain preservatives or other chemicals, they will be more likely to purchase from you.
The initial investment into a MAP system will easily be recouped through less spoiled product and more sales due to extended shelf life and an increase in purchases from conscious buyers.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging Systems (MAP) significantly extend product shelf-life while maintaining appearance, texture and freshness without the use of a vacuum.
P5-A Fully Automated Packaging System
The P5-A fully automatic seal system is ideal for any food production and packaging environment. Configurable for manual feed or fully automatic production, the P5-A can produce vacuum-gas flushed MAP containers, vacuum skin packs (VSP) and seal-only trays. In full automatic mode, the P5-A can be tailored to customers’ needs and customized with lane dividers, extended infeeds with integrated automatic tray denesters, filling and depositing systems, lid applicators lane merging systems. All the components allow for a turnkey “complete line” to meet the requirements of today’s food industry.
The P5-A is capable of production rates of up to 60 sealed trays per minute, 32 MAP trays and 28 skin trays. An optional seal head storage cart ensures that tooling can be changed over in less than 5 minutes. The user-friendly touch screen display allows easy for simple and quick product set up and storage of up to 99 product recipes and language selection including English, Spanish and French. Film sealing, MAP and vacuum skin packing can all be achieved on the same seal head.
P5-RM Semi-Automatic Packaging System
Step it up a notch with the P5-RM from Point Five Packaging. This semi-automatic tray seal system is capable of producing vacuum, MAP (vacuum gas), vacuum skin packing (VSP) and sealing of pre-formed trays and cups. The manual turntable operation considerably cuts cycle times and optimizes output. It allows the operator to load and unload trays at one station while the machine is performing a seal operation at the other. When ready, the operator will rotate the table and the cycle begins again.
The P5-RM is fitted with easy to load film rack and automatic film advance. An optional print registered film operation and an automatic tray lifter for easier loading/unloading. The P5-RM can run up to 16 MAP trays, 28 sealed trays and 12 vacuum skin pack trays per minute. Quick change seal heads can be changed out in less than 2 minutes. A user-friendly touch screen display allows easy product set-up, storage of up to 99 product recipes and multiple language selection including English, Spanish and French.
P5-M Semi-Automatic Packaging System
The P5-M seal system combines a robust design with compact footprint to deliver the ultimate entry level to tray and cup sealing, modified atmosphere, vacuum-gas or vacuum skin packaging. A stainless steel sanitary construction ensures the P5-M is at home in any food packaging environment. The P5-M is ideal for small and medium packers and is a handy addition and backup system for large producers as well. Versatile and compact with an attractive price tag, the P5-M is well suited for R&D labs in academic, medical, agricultural and food packaging research centers.
P5-T Semi-Automatic Packaging System
The P5-T table top seal system is the perfect solution for sealing trays and cups and also creating vacuum-gas sealed modified atmosphere (MAP) and/or vacuum skin packs (VSP) with a minimal investment. Ideal for any entry level or production re-work operations, the P5-T is also well suited for retail or laboratory environments. A user friendly, color touch screen with multiple product recipes, an easy to load film rack and automatic scrap film rewind and a quick change seal heads are all standard features of this handy system.
P5-4ZA Automatic Packaging System
The P5-4ZA series is a fully automated tray and cup seal system capable of producing vacuum-gas MAP packs, vacuum skin packs (VSP) and/or no MAP sealed trays and cups. The P5-4ZA can be equipped with up to 3 sealing stations to achieve production rates of up to 150 trays per minute (no MAP). Customers can also choose to run different products at each seal station and significantly reduce their change over time. Seal head changeover can be accomplished in under 5 minutes with an optional ergonomically efficient seal head storage cart.
The P5-4ZA can be customized for your specific packaging line layout and integrated with a variety of options and components to create a fully turnkey packaging line. Point Five Packaging will assist you by conceptualizing, designing and developing infeed and outfeed conveyor lines, tray denesters, fillers and depositors, markers/printing machines, aligning devices, etc. The userfriendly color touch screen display allows easy product set up and change over and can store up to 99 product programs. Operators may also choose between English, Spanish and French screen translations.
MAP Solutions from Point Five Packaging
Modified atmosphere packaging is an effective and efficient method of prolonging the shelf life of perishable goods. If you need a MAP solution, turn to the experts at Point Five Packaging. We offer a range of fully and semi-automated MAP equipment to meet a variety of product and production specifications. To learn more about our systems, packaging materials, or receive assistance choosing one for your needs, contact us or request a quote today.