Modified Atmosphere Packaging – A fresh approach to food packaging

Modified Atmosphere Packaging is also known as gas flushing, protective atmosphere packaging or reduced oxygen packaging.

Modified Atmosphere enables fresh and minimally processed packaged food products to maintain visual, textural and nutritional appeal. The controlled MAP environment enables food packaging to provide an extended shelf life without requiring the addition of chemical preservatives or stabilisers. Processors and marketers of food products rely on Modified Atmosphere Packaging to assure fresh and flavourful products that continually meet the consumer’s expectation for brand quality, consistency, freshness and in-stock availability.

What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging?

Modified Atmosphere Packaging is an optimal blend of pure oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen within a high barrier or permeable package. A finely adjusted and carefully controlled gas blend is developed to meet the specific respiration needs for each packaged food product.

Plastic films, foils and other packaging materials that demonstrate specified gas permeability properties and/or water vapour permeability properties are selected for use. These high barrier substrates become MAP Packages after they are formed into trays, lid stock or bags and filled with a select blend of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen environmental gasses.

Packaging films are selected to match the characteristics and needs of the food product. Film permeability, water vapour transmission rates and sealing characteristics need to be measured and tested at film selection and again at package converting and product fill stages, since the ability of a film to handle MAP performance characteristics may vary within each stage.

How does Modified Atmosphere Packaging work?

The Modified Atmosphere Package environment is formed from a finely balanced mix of normal atmospheric gases. The finely balanced MAP gas mix slows down the product aging process to reduce colour loss, odour and off-taste resulting from product deterioration, spoilage and rancidity caused by mold and other anaerobic organisms.

A carefully controlled Modified Atmosphere Package achieves and maintains an optimal respiration rate to preserve the fresh colour, taste and nutrient content of red meat, seafood, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, pasta, prepared foods, cheese, baked goods, cured meats and dried foods throughout an extended shelf life.