Food shelf life

Using specialist gases to maximise shelf life

Using specialist gases to maximise shelf life

A significant proportion of food is wasted before it even reaches the consumer. It’s why specialist gases are essential to the food industry. We can reduce Spoilage during transportation by changing packaging methods. For example, by using a blend of gases to preserve the food’s shelf life. Carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen form an important mixture that preserves the quality of meats, vegetables, and various other foods. We call this ‘modified atmosphere packaging’.

By slowing down the food spoilage process, it reduces food waste and allows consumers to store purchased foods for longer.

The problem

Food waste is a serious problem all around the world. It deepens production expenses and increases food prices. Throwing away food also inflicts a heavy toll on the environment that sustains us. Retailers and consumers in the UK waste approximately 7.3 million tonnes of produce, worth around £13bn, every year.

It is a producer’s responsibility to minimise food waste wherever possible. Not only does this help maximise profits by increasing the amount of edible food, but it is also better for the environment.

How does a mix of gases reduce food spoilage?

Without modified atmosphere packaging, oxygen levels inside food packages would be 20.9 per cent. Oxygen is an essential gas for life but can also provide conditions that will enhance the growth of microorganisms, damage foods with the help of enzymes, and cause oxidation.

By reducing the amount of oxygen in packaging and replacing it with carbon dioxide and nitrogen, bacteria struggle to grow, and food takes longer to oxidise. To do this, they flush out all of the oxygen in the package, before piping in the new gas blend. Sealing this traps the new composition inside.

The composition of modified atmosphere packaging will depend on the type of food inside. Fruits and vegetables often benefit from a low-barrier, breathable film that allows them to breathe. On the other hand, meat, fish, or cheese prefer a high-barrier film that prevents other gases from mixing with the predetermined composition.

Using modified atmosphere packaging reduces oxygen levels and starves the bacteria of their essential lifeline. Food stays fresher for longer when you replace the gas composition inside your packaging. It opens up the door to greater yields, higher profits, and a healthier environment.

Higgins has years of experience with specialist gas system installation. We can install your specialist gas system, minimising the risk of impurities, or upgrade your old one to stop contamination in its tracks. All you need to do is get in touch today on 01625 613 308.