If foodstuffs are packed in air, they are exposed to atmospheric conditions which can lead to undesirable changes to the product. The main influences here are oxidation by atmospheric oxygen as well as microbial infestation by bacteria and mould. These unwanted influences can be suppressed or reduced by packing under a modified atmosphere (MAP: Modified Atmosphere Packaging).
When packaging under a modified atmosphere a variety of gases are used, for example carbon dioxide (CO2), argon (Ar), nitrogen (N2) or oxygen (O2).
In addition to displacing the ambient atmosphere, protective gases can reduce the oxidative changes to foodstuffs and microbial activity.
A modified atmosphere offers the following advantages:
- Extended shelf-life
- Longer preservation of sensory properties such as appearance or taste
- Reduction in microbiological activity in product
Example of a tray sealer