The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it is also responsible for creating a generation of consumers that is better informed and more exacting than ever before. As a result, as food producers, packers and retailers, you are continually having to adopt policies and practices to meet the increasingly high demands of your customers.
Although this creates added pressure for the food industry, the upside is that, as consumers become more conscious about their health, with an increased awareness towards the benefits of fresher food, they are willing to pay higher prices for better fresh produce. This means more and more retailers are embracing food packaged in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) because their customers demand it, and are prepared to pay for it.
It’s important to remember that while MAP cannot actually improve the quality of the fresh produce – as that is determined at harvest/slaughter – it can significantly extend shelf life and prolong the food safety window.
The Importance Of Food Safety
While fresh fruit and vegetables don’t look or taste great once they’re past their best, it’s unlikely that you’ll become ill if you eat them. Meat, on the other hand, is a whole different story.
As a highly perishable food, meat poses a significant health risk if it isn’t handled properly. Foodborne bacterial pathogens – such as Salmonella, Clostridium botulinum, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus and Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli – can have serious negative effects on human health. The South African government recently commissioned a report on the South African meat inspection system and the cost to the country of foodborne diseases. The report found that when taking into account medical and legal expenses, and absenteeism from work and school, costs run into billions of Rand every year.
Suddenly, the price of using MAP to pack meat seems trivial in comparison.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging prolongs the microbiological shelf life of meat, and maintains its attractive red colour. Raw meat and sausage products have a high nutrient and moisture content. This makes them very prone to microbial growth and spoilage. Together with high standards of hygiene and continuous cooling at low temperatures, MAP can significantly slow down this spoilage and extended shelf life.
MAP uses a mixture of gases to achieve its amazing results and, in the case of meat, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important gas. At concentrations above 20 percent, CO2 can considerably reduce microbial growth and prevent the meat from oxidising (which is what gives it that unappealing grey-ish colour).
Mapflex is a leader in the supply of a variety of Modified Atmosphere Packaging. To find out more about how you can take advantage of our game-changing packaging for your fresh produce, chat to us today.