Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is defined as ‘the packaging of a perishable product in an atmosphere which has been modified so that its composition is other than that of air’ (Hintlian and Hotchkiss, 1986).
It is one of the most updated options to traditional packaging technologies and involves removing and replacing the atmospheric gases with a predetermined gas mixture to slow down the product aging process and preserve the fresh colour, taste and nutrient content throughout an extended shelf life.
The three main gases used in this process are oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The choice of gas or mixture of gases is very dependent upon the food product being packed.
MAP analyser technologies, which the special feature in gasworld’s Global September issue is looking at, are used for quality assurance in packaging under modified atmosphere.
But what are the key trends driving this industry at the moment?
gasworld spoke to AGC Instruments, Gas Sensing Solutions, MOCON Europe and WITT-Gasetechnik, who all said how data is being collected and stored is the most important trend they are seeing.
“There seems to be a high focus and demand for collecting and storing data. Hereby enabling producers to improve their productivity and offer improved quality as well as extended traceability to the customers,” said Morten Torngaard, Sales Manager at MOCON Europe.
Mike Loughnane, AGC Instrument’s Business Development Manager, added, “The ability to log and save data and effortlessly send this to a database is probably the most important trend. Audits are becoming increasingly rigorous and food producers must show a ‘paperwork trail’ where this is now stored in computers as opposed to the traditional paper files which are environmentally unfriendly and space prohibitive. Real time data that is easily accessed on computers is a means of monitoring operations in large food production environments.”
WITT-Gasetechnik’s Head of Marketing Alexander Kamschulte echoed, “The documentation of processes and quality assurance is becoming increasingly important. For this reason, we have already equipped our devices with export interfaces and wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or WLAN.”
“The demand for these things will continue to increase. Especially for larger food producers we expect an increasing importance of inline analysers during the packaging process. This, in conjunction with sample testing offers maximum process reliability and documents highest quality standard to the customers.”
gasworld will publish the full feature, titled ’In focus… MAP analyser technologies’, in its upcoming Global September 2018 edition.