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Technology, Nitrogen Generators

Food Packaging Industry Is Staving Off Spoilage Thanks to Nitrogen


It’s no secret: the world is getting a little more crowded each day (or second). With that many mouths to feed, innovation has fueled the way food is handled so it can accommodate these growing needs.

To help keep food fresher longer, manufacturers have increased their reliance on nitrogen when packaging food products. Using nitrogen to displace oxygen from a food product’s packaging also purges excess moisture from the package, eliminating with it the increased potential for conditions that can lead to a deterioration in food quality. The shelf life of minimally processed foods, including, meat, fish, and fruits and vegetables, can be extended significantly without impacting the color, appearance or taste of the food. Food products exposed to oxygen can spoil or begin to brown (think apple slices).

Nitrogen also provides a pressurized atmosphere that prevents package collapse. This is particularly helpful with delicate foods, like potato chips or crackers, as the bags won’t get crushed in storage or transport and delivery, reducing waste and stretching profits even further. A combination of gases – nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide – is often tailored to meet a specific food’s makeup and properties. This is called Modified Atmosphere Packaging, or MAP.

With so many advantages available with nitrogen use in food packaging, many manufacturers are shifting to on-site nitrogen generation. On-site nitrogen generation can be safer and more economical; depending on market prices for liquid nitrogen, manufacturers can cut costs anywhere between 40 percent and 80 percent.

On-site nitrogen generation has additional advantages as well. Without regular deliveries, employees are safer because of less truck traffic and no exposure to potential injury from storage tanks. Fewer vehicle deliveries also helps reduce a facility’s carbon footprint.

As the world grows, food demand increases. Thanks to nitrogen, packaging can extend the shelf life of food, allowing it to be safely transported long distance to those who need it.


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