In these tough economic times with the extra threat of electricity price hikes in the pipeline, the food processing and packaging industry needs to cut costs and fast, says leading speciality gases group Afrox.
“Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) could hold the key for many in the food industry to cut production overheads and maintain healthy margins,” confirmed Afrox speciality gases business manager, Robert Carlton-Shields.
“MAP not only keeps packaged food looking good, it is economical without the need for vacuum packaging. It keeps food fresher for longer, with juices and goodness sealed in. Cost savings are also achieved as a result of longer production runs and fewer deliveries.
“In these days of stiff competition companies need to work smarter, utilise proven technology to cut costs while delivering a high quality product to maintain market share.”
Consumer spending is also at its most distressed levels for two decades and as fresh food is the preferred choice for most health and quality conscious individuals, the use of MAP technology can provide a strong marketing edge as it means no artificial preservatives or freezing required.
Said Carlton-Shields: “For instance, to keep biltong as fresh as the day it was packed, the MAP gas to use is a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The carbon dioxide reduces the effect of microbial growth, while nitrogen is the inert balance gas that prevents oxidation. For red meat, some oxygen is also added to retain the desired red colour. Oxygen at low levels in poultry and fish packaging, prevents the growth of anaerobic bacteria.
“All food is subject to deterioration, gradual loss of flavour, loss of colour and microbial spoilage. MAP can protect the food from these effects, retard deterioration and extend shelf life dramatically. Different decay mechanisms are prominent in the various food groups, and the gases or gas mixtures are selected to specifically target these.”
A range of MAP gases and gas mixtures are available from Afrox for the following food categories: meat; poultry; fish; diary products; confectionary products; dried products and snack foods; fresh fruit and vegetables, and cooked-chilled meals.
This range of gases, which must be used in conjunction with the highest standards of hygiene and temperature control throughout the production, delivery and storage processes, is marketed under the FoodFreshTM brand.
- The overall quality of FoodFreshTM gases is achieved by carefully controlling both the preparation and filling procedures of each FoodFreshTM cylinder.
- FoodFreshTM gases are supplied on dedicated high capacity, high-pressure steel cylinders providing longer cylinder life and fewer cylinder changeovers.
- The cylinders are fitted with soft-seat hand-wheel valves to facilitate easy opening and closing.
- The quality of FoodFreshTM gases is rigorously monitored to highest standards in an ISO 9001 facility.
- The distinctive FoodFreshTM cylinders and certificate of compliance complement the high quality of the gas content. That is how Afrox ensures that the FoodFreshTM cylinders are dedicated to the food industry.