A large part of the reason why people choose organic produce is because it’s grown and packaged without using harmful chemicals or preservatives. The flip side of this particular coin is, however, that as soon as you eliminate preservatives, you cause an almost instant – and significant – decrease in a product’s stability and shelf-life. So, can consumers have it all? Can they enjoy organic, preservative-free produce that also has a conveniently longer life-span? Thanks to the use of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) in organic produce packaging, the answer is yes! With MAP, the best of both worlds is most definitely possible!
The Importance Of MAP In Organic Produce
What happens after you cut open an apple? It starts to go brown very quickly. And have you noticed how fresh red meat turns an unappetising grey if you leave it exposed to the air for too long? This is caused by oxidation or the exposure of the produce to oxygen. Oxygen is the single biggest enemy of fresh produce after it’s harvested. Even though a product might still be perfectly safe to eat, oxidation affects its taste, colour, texture and smell. And because we shop with our eyes first, any food that doesn’t look as fresh as when it was first harvested turns us off.
In addition, oxidation significantly reduces shelf life and is a leading cause of product degradation. Environments rich in oxygen are a paradise for bacteria and mould, which can cause serious illness if ingested.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) creates an oxygen-poor environment, which means that even produce that is organic and preservative-free can enjoy greater freshness and a longer shelf-life. This is great news for consumers and also for retailers – every day that a product can stay on your shelves without spoiling is an added chance for it to sell. MAP products are ideal for organic produce because they keep it fresh without using preservatives, meaning all relevant organic regulations are maintained. And, as no pesticides are used while the food is growing, the right packaging is vital to ensure any insects or other pests are kept off the produce.
MAP also means organic food producers can streamline their distribution operations and opt for cheaper transport options, such as rail and road, instead of air. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the produce.
Believing in Better
Packaging is an important aspect of what makes a product truly organic. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Draft Basic Standards states that “Organic product packaging should have minimal adverse environmental impacts,” and recommends that “processors of organic food should avoid unnecessary packaging materials. Organic food should be packaged in reusable, recycled, recyclable and biodegradable packaging whenever possible.”
Mapflex is a proud supplier of PerfoTec’s polymeric modified atmosphere packaging film, which is biodegradable by composting and can also be recycled. It’s the ideal packaging solution for your organic fresh produce, and if you’d like to know more about this amazing product, please contact us today.