Modified atmospheric packaging technology is a well-established and gaining its importance day by day in food industry. Although packaging serves multiple functions, the most important purpose it should serve is ‘Extending the shelf life of food’. Food wastage is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and also risks food security. Eka Global’s high barrier Longevity Packaging plays a vital role in protecting & preventing the food from getting spoiled. Appropriate food processing and our packaging technology together can be used for extending shelf life of various food products. Food shelf life is determined based on the shortest among the three pillars: Microbial Safety, Sensory Properties & Nutrition.

Broadly speaking, the food processing technologies can be divided into Thermal Processing and Non-thermal Processing categories. Eka Global’s high barrier Longevity Packaging can be customized as per specific requirements of Thermal Processing and Non-thermal processing technologies.

Non-thermal processing is generally used for thermally sensitive products to better protect sensory & nutrition while enhancing the shelf life by controlling microbial growth. One of the most popular non-thermal processing technique is called Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP). MAP extends the shelf life of fresh food products by substituting the atmospheric air inside the high barrier package with a controlled mixture of gases. Modified atmosphere slows down the microbial growth and biochemical activity. MAP also controls the product ageing process to reduce color loss, odor and off taste resulting from product deterioration. Thus, MAP technology offers consumers:

Product safety & hygiene
Great taste, variety & nutrition
Expanded buying channel options

The most common gases used in MAP are CO2& N2.

Nitrogen is an un-reactive gas with no odour, taste or color. It has a lower density than air, it is non-flammable and has a low solubility in water and other food constituents. It does not support the growth of aerobic microbes and therefore inhibits the growth of aerobic spoilage.

Carbon dioxide inhibits bacterial growth in packed foods. It is highly soluble in water and fat due to which it lowers the pH of stored food. It acts as Microcidal by combining with free moisture available in the product. This helps in preventing anaerobic bacteria growth.

In order to maximize the gains from MAP, the gas combination used is customized to the food stuff being packaged. Gas combination depends on type of product, pH, water activity and initial microbial load. Thegoal is to reduce microbial growth while balancing sensory properties.

MAP Shelf Life extension depends on the product, barrier performance of packaging material and performance of MAP sealing machine. Product factors such as composition, manufacturing process, key physical and chemical factors and initial microbial load are critical to understand for determining efficacy of MAP.

Requirements of MAP:

Hygienically made product with low initial microbial load
Clean environment packaging room
High Barrier Packaging material
Food grade gases - N2 and CO2
MAP sealing machine
Auxiliary Equipment

By using MAP to extend shelf life, the brand owners can ensure product safety, quality, extended reach, control costs and eliminate wastage. Eka Global provides complete MAP packaging solution of High Barrier Containers & High Barrier sealing film. Additionally, our R&D provides support for commercialization trials, machine selection, GMP & HACCAP guidance, which leads to success of our customers. Our R&D and collaboration with Indian Ethnic Sweet manufacturers since 2013 has led to success of many customers by making their products available to consumers beyond traditional sweet (halwai) shops. Now Indian Ethnic Sweets are available through retail networks, express stores and even e-retail.

By combining our barrier technology with design expertise to protect the products, we provide award winning patented designs to make products stand out in the shelf.

By using principles of Hurdle Technology, MAP can be combined with other processing techniques to develop many more products. Other emerging MAP applications are

Dry Fruits & Nuts
Bakery
Savoury
Ready to Eat
Dehydrated Instant Mixes
Cut Fruits

 

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About the author

Vivek Chougule

Vivek Chougule  is the Managing Director, Eka Pak Global India


Vivek brings with him 20 years of advanced food packaging and processing technology experience to the job. He has significant commercial know-how in the areas of innovative packaging technologies as well as thermal & non-thermal food processing. The main focus of his work has been in the area of shelf-life extension for a broad range of products.

Vivek worked with Printpack for 13 years, in the US for the first six then in Asia where he accumulated expertise and insights into strategic collaborations, new technologies, market research and production. In his current role at Eka Global, he is responsible for developing new applications and commercializing new technologies for the Asia market.

Vivek obtained his MBA from the College of William & Mary (USA) and holds a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering & Packaging Science from Clemson University (USA).

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