There isn’t currently legislation stating that modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has to be labelled as such, so although it can be found in pretty much every aisle in your supermarket, it remains a largely “invisible” product to the average consumer. Yet billions of frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable foods are sold worldwide every year inside this proven packaging.
Although anyone familiar with our blogs may commonly associate MAP with the preservation of fresh fruit and vegetables, it is in fact used to package a huge variety of other items as well. Potato chips, processed meats, cheese, fresh fish and meat, pizza dough and other bakery products, coffee and fresh pasta are all often found packaged used modified atmosphere packaging of one kind or another.
Convenience and Freshness? It’s In the Bag!
The increasing popularity of MAP is a direct response to the demands of today’s more exacting consumers. They expect absolute convenience from the food they buy, and want items that are easy to buy, easy to prepare and easy to eat. But they also demand food that is always “fresh.” It must look and taste great, and must maintain its nutritional value.
Fortunately for these consumers, food producers and packers are rising to the occasion, with increasing numbers leveraging the multitude of benefits modified atmosphere packaging provides. More and more, we’re seeing the prevalence of MAP in refrigerated, prepared convenience foods such as ready peeled and cut fresh vegetables, ready-to-eat salads and pre-packaged sandwiches.
From Lettuce To Limitless
It seems incredible to think that MAP technology in the fresh-cut produce category was virtually unheard of just 20 years ago. Today, it is the fastest-growing segment of the MAP market. It started out as way to deliver fresh, precut lettuce to the quick service restaurant industry, but quickly evolved to encompass prepackaged salads and other fresh vegetables.
The really exciting thing about being in the modified atmosphere packaging industry is that the technology continues to advance to embrace a wider variety of applications. Consumers are now able to buy pre-cut melon, pineapple and mixed fruit salads with an up to two-week shelf-life! And pre-sliced apples that can last between three to six weeks!
Of course, the benefits aren’t only for consumers. Increased shelf-life has a direct and positive impact on the marketability and profitability of any food production business.
At Mapflex South Africa, we specialise in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). Our innovative products are making a big impact on the convenience food market, and to find out how they could make a big impact on your overall profitability, contact us today.