Nitrogen for Modified Atmosphere Packaging, what you need to know
Considering using nitrogen for MAP? Here’s what you should know:
What is MAP?
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a common industry solution which is used to combat food decay. It works by modifying the natural atmosphere that food is stored in to a modified atmosphere which contains less oxygen, usually less than 1%. The reason why the food industry strive for less oxygen in their packaging is because oxygen within a food package leads to oxidation, resulting in food spoilage. If moisture is also present with the oxygen in the packaging this can create an environment in which bacteria can thrive. By reducing the oxygen within food packaging the food industry can prolong the shelf-life of their products by delaying decay.
Some foods which are known to benefit from MAP include coffee, crisps, rice and pasta which are often packaged using Vertical Form Fill and Seal (VFFS) machinery. MAP is also used for products like biscuits and sandwiches which are commonly packaged by Horizontal Form Fill and Seal (HFFS) machinery while products like ready meals and salads are packaged using MAP with tray sealing machinery. If you require food grade nitrogen for VFFS, HFFS or tray sealing contact Peak Gas Generation today.
Why use nitrogen for MAP?
Nitrogen is widely used in the food industry for Modified Atmosphere Packaging as it is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas which, coupled with its inertness and dryness, make it a suitable gas to use to displace oxygen from food packaging.
What are the requirements for MAP nitrogen?
Only food grade nitrogen, with a purity of 99% or above, should be used for MAP. Within Europe, food grade nitrogen being used for MAP is classified as a food additive, so it has been given an additive number; E941. Many other authorities around the world have similar requirements, or simply adhere to the European standard.
Sourcing food grade nitrogen for MAP
Nitrogen for MAP is often supplied via nitrogen cylinders or via micro-bulk liquid N2 supply for users with greater volume requirements, but the most convenient and cost-effective method is via on site nitrogen generation. With an on-site nitrogen generator, the hassles of interrupted supply, placing orders and accepting and storing deliveries are all eliminated. However, the increased convenience isn’t the only reason to opt for a nitrogen generator. By switching to a food grade nitrogen generator for MAP there can be great cost-reductions compared to using cylinders or micro-bulk liquid N2.
For example, a small food packaging operation using 1 tray sealer for 5 hours a day with a mix of N2 and CO2 from cylinders, could see a return on their investment in a year by switching their nitrogen supply to a Peak Gas Generation i-Flow nitrogen generator. Similarly, a salad bagging customer using nitrogen for 8 hours a day with 3 VFFS systems who switches from using liquid micro-bulk nitrogen supply to an i-Flow nitrogen generator could see a return on investment in 15 months.
If you are using cylinders or micro-bulk nitrogen supply for MAP and would like to reduce your costs with a more convenient gas solution, contact Peak Gas Generation today.
Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about nitrogen generation, click here.
MAP is often used for crisps
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Majority of industries buy nitrogen gas supplies via nitrogen cylinder packs, others meet their needs through liquid nitrogen dewars, micro-bulk tanks or bulk liquid nitrogen delivery. There is a better, more sustainable & safer option. Reduce the cost of nitrogen gas to your organisation & become self-sufficient. Find out how much you can save with a Peak nitrogen generator system.