What Is the #1 Secret in the Process of Packaging Food?
You spent countless hours making your food product, and then you spent countless more creating the perfect packaging. However, if you aren’t integrating nitrogen gas into your food packaging process, then you are missing a vital step. Here is a closer look at how nitrogen is used in food packaging and why it is the number one secret component you must use when packaging your food products.
How Nitrogen Is Used in Food Packaging
As you probably know, oxygen is the enemy of your food product. When it is exposed to your food, it makes it decay much faster. So it would stand to reason that by eliminating all oxygen from your food packaging, you can make it last longer. This is exactly what nitrogen gas is used for. No matter what type of food packaging you use—including bags, cans, plastic, glass, boxes, etc.—you do not want any oxygen in it. By filling any remaining space in your packaging with nitrogen before it is sealed, you don’t leave any extra space for the oxygen to get in.
How Nitrogen Gas Improves Food Packaging
Nitrogen generation is a simple and effective way to enhance your food packaging and improve the quality of your food product because it displaces the oxygen and ensures it cannot come into contact with your product. By removing oxygen, you enhance your product in three ways:
- Extending the Shelf Life – Without oxygen, there is no food supply for bacteria, mold, or mildew to feed off of. This means that your food will stay fresher for longer, and a longer shelf life means less waste and more money in your pocket.
- Preserving the Quality – In addition to keeping away the oxygen, filling your food packaging with nitrogen also means there is nowhere for moisture to seep in. Without moisture, the quality of your product will remain intact.
- Reducing Damage – When you distribute your food, it ends up on planes, trains, and trucks, which means there are a lot of opportunities for it to get damaged. However, when you integrate nitrogen into your food packaging, you can insert enough of the gas that it provides a built-in pillow for your product. This extra layer of nitrogen will act as a barrier during transit to reduce the amount of damage caused from being dropped or crushed.
How Much Nitrogen You Need for Your Food Packaging
Now that you know how nitrogen is used in food packaging and you understand the many benefits it provides, you may be wondering just how much nitrogen you need to use in your own packaging. Unfortunately, this is not a one-size-fits-all answer. There are many variables that go into play to determine just how much nitrogen gas you need for it to effectively serve its purpose. To help you, answer these five questions:
- What is the natural shelf life of my product? If you did nothing to it and just let it sit, how long would it last? If the shelf life is only days, you will need more nitrogen to keep the food fresh; however, if the food is inherently shelf stable (like dried beans or honey), you will not require as much.
- What is the gas mixture composed of? Not all food packaging requires pure nitrogen gas to be effective. High-moisture foods, such as pastries or fresh pasta, will need 99.9% pure nitrogen, while drier foods use part nitrogen and part carbon dioxide to displace the oxygen. It is somewhat of a trial-and-error process to determine what the most effective mixture is for your specific food product, or you can refer to then UNIDO recommendations.
- What type of packaging am I using? Is the material you use for packaging heavy-duty and dense, or it is porous? If there is a chance the nitrogen gas can escape, then you will want to include more nitrogen gas to cover any losses, while a solid package can probably get away with less.
- How is my product being stored? Will your product be stored at room temperature throughout the shipping and selling process, or is its temperature regulated via a fridge or freezer? Room temperature goods will usually require more nitrogen gas simply because there is a higher risk of bacteria.
- How fragile is my product? Do you sell chips, bread, or other equally fragile and easily compactable items? If so, you will want to make sure to use enough nitrogen to provide a thick cushion throughout shipment.
If you want your food product to be delivered to your customer in the same condition it was when it left your facility, then nitrogen gas is the answer. When used correctly, it can extend your product’s shelf life, keep your product intact, and increase your profits.
On Site Gas Systems
Bio: On Site Gas Systems has been manufacturing high-quality nitrogen and oxygen generators in the USA for over 28 years. They create custom systems for a wide array of industries to fulfill their nitrogen and oxygen generation needs.