Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever before. They are educated about food additives and preservatives, and they want their food to be fresh, attractive and minimally processed. Their expectations of the fresh food in their supermarkets are continually rising, which means their expectations of food producers, packers and packaging suppliers are rising too – and it’s up to us to rise with them and meet, or even exceed, their expectations.
The challenge we face every day is how to deliver fresh food to consumers as if it’s just come fresh from the farm. Time and temperature control are of the essence, but we can also use science to give us the upper hand in making sure our packaged produce looks fresher, tastes better and lasts longer on the shelf.
This is where Modified Atmosphere Packaging has completely revolutionised the fresh food packaging industry.
Fruits and vegetables are living products that respire just like any other living thing. They consume oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, ethylene, heat and water. This ultimately causes the carbohydrates and other substances in the product to break down, affecting the appearance, freshness and taste.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging contains tiny perforations which help to create the optimum environment for the produce, allowing it to continue respiring, but at a rate that slows the natural decay for as long as possible, thus greatly extending its shelf life.
The Perfotec Advantage
Mapflex’s Perfotec packaging is created using extensive scientific research from Europe that is continually being updated to ensure produce stays fresher for longer. With our packaging, nothing is random. Everything, from the type of packaging material to the size of the perforations in the packaging, is exhaustively researched, tried and tested to ensure the best possible outcomes.
All food respires at different rates, so the type of packaging differs accordingly. But what happens when we have combo packs – those handy, ready-to-roast bags of mixed vegetables, or bags of cauliflower and broccoli just begging to be baked in a cheese sauce?
These multi-component products present a unique and complex challenge for packaging manufacturers, as difference produce respires, and ultimately decays, at different rates. Once again, the solution is the science. With Perfotec, factors such as the varying respiration rates, type of packaging film, pack volume, light and fill weight are all carefully examined to determine the most desirable equilibrium modified atmosphere (EMA).
Typically, EMAs of 3-10% oxygen and 3-10% carbon dioxide can significantly increase the shelf life of combo packs of vegetables, but ongoing research helps us to continually adapt our packaging to ensure the best results.