Do you know Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) of fruits and vegetables? The MAP can be used in meat preservation as well. We will discuss the benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging of foods.
Concept of MAP is that normal composition of air is changed or modified within a package as the product respires. This modified packaging of foods results in increasing the levels of Carbon dioxide and reducing the Oxygen level inside the packages.
Key to successful application of MAP is knowing what type of environment will be most beneficial to the products. And determining which packaging materials will be used to create such an environment.
Incorrect packaging materials will damage the food products inside the package. Sometimes we see fruit juices and packed vegetables rotten inside the package.
Benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Modified Atmosphere Packaging helps in packaging of fresh cut fruits and vegetables for long term storage. For example, MAP is used in packaging Mushroom, Broccoli, Asparagus and Cherries.
In fact, MAP is not a substitute for temperature controller in the package, but it is a supplement to cold storage.
However, MAP without refrigeration is of little benefit in getting longer shelf life of the perishable foods.
One of the best benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging is maintenance of high relative humidity around the food product.
This significantly reduces the rate of water loss and helps in maintaining freshness of the produce. A freshly harvested mushroom varieties like Oyster and Paddy straw deteriorates within a day.
The water loss is in high volume and the mushroom are damaged. Often, mushroom farmers face this problem.
If the mushroom are packed in Modified Atmosphere Packaging, then the loss can be minimized, boosting market avenue and also retaining the quality of the products.
Shelf life of the MAP foods reduces if the products are kept above 20 degree Celsius. That is the reason, we see such MAP foods item are keep in fridge or cool places in the store.
New Technology in MAP
Packaging films plays a major role in Modified Atmosphere Packaging. Normally, low density polyethylene (LDPE) films are used as flexible packaging film in food packaging. New technology like Mettalocene based film are used nowadays.
Some of the new technologies used in Packaging are tailored made films, Active package films, Micro perforated films, Micro porous membranes, Anti microbial films, Ethylene and Carbon dioxide absorbing films and Antifog films.
Antifog films: The packaging films must have enhanced clarity and better see through parameters. Consumers like to see fresh food products before they purchase it.
Antifog compounds inside the MAP films migrate to the inner surface of the film and prevent large drops of water formation. This helps in a more attractive package and a better display of the food packages.
Anti fungal films: Fungus is common on fruit surface especially on fruits and vegetables which are cut or injured. We see these mostly in strawberries and tomatoes. Elevated Carbon dioxide environment within Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) bring an additional benefits of being fungistatic.
This helps in the reduction of growth of Botrytis cinerea, a mold in Strawberry.
With the market for fresh cut and fresh fruits becoming more and more competitive, the focus is on longer shelf life and the quality of the foods which are sold in package.
With artificial techniques and chemicals, we can keep the food shelf life longer. The point here is not only shelf life of the foods inside those packages.
Every consumer wants quality foods which are healthy and tasty. They want foods inside the package as natural as harvested from the kitchen garden or the fruit orchards. That is why we discussed the benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging in briefs!