The role of flexible food packaging in helping to reduce food wastage by increasing shelf life has been a subject of interest to many experts globally.
It is thought that Flexible packaging presents a distinct opportunity, especially for participants in the dairy food industry, to address the challenges of cheese wastage resulting from sub optimal packaging and storage.
In the past, cheese wastage was an immense problem from a consumer standpoint since the previous rigid packaging of cheese products weren’t helpful and contained inadequate information that could have guide consumers on the best approaches to preserving this dairy product.
As a result, the discarded cheese was a contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and a source of worry to many food experts.
Since the arrival of various packaging modalities, thanks to flexible packaging technology, cheese wastage has been slashed by more than a quarter because consumers can store cheese for a considerable length of time.
Now, Flexible packaging innovations such as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), active packaging and vacuum packaging have fostered extended shelf lives of cheese and other dairy products.
Here is a more focused look on how these flexible packaging technologies are helping cheese last longer.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (Map)
Sadly, many end users do not realize that flexible packaging protects cheese in the home which is why many consumers adopt unpacking strategies that consequently decrease shelf life.
The idea behind of MAP is the replacement of the natural air in the cheese package with a different gas mixture of Oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in a flexible film which controls the distribution of the gases into and out of the package.
These flexible materials provide a narrow range of permeability to atmospheric gases and water vapor. As such, a suitable atmospheric condition for preserving the freshness of cheese is achieved by adjusting the normal gas concentration of air from about 80% nitrogen plus 20% oxygen to a perfect atmosphere that delays its decay.
Modified atmospheric packaged cheese has become steadily more popular, as cheese manufacturers have strived to meet buyer demands for fresh products with long-lasting shelf life and no preservatives. In addition to these, cheese packaging design allows companies to brand their products in unique ways.
Cheese kept via flexible active packaging can last for 90 days longer as opposed to 190 days without.
Active packaging is a very innovative technology with rising acceptance and increasing market growth.
The science is based on the idea of including elements into the packaging systems that release or soak up substances so as to prolong shelf life and sustain the quality of food. Oxygen scavengers, moisture absorbers, carbon dioxide absorbers, and generators, antimicrobial agents, ethylene absorbers, and ethanol emitters, are all possible active packaging components.
In vacuum packages used for cheese, the active ingredients, especially oxygen absorbers (O2 in cheese bags is a serious base for quality loss), are incorporated into the packaging material in a way that consumers aren’t totally aware of their presence.
As a result of this brilliant partnership, the shelf life of cheese and many other dairy products are significantly boosted.
As the name implies, the goal of this modality is to create a package from which air is totally eliminated.
A tough barrier film is utilized in creating and sustaining this inert atmosphere.
Vacuum packing helps to prevent the growth of aerobic spoilage microbes, oxidation, and shrinkage.
Some have argued about the similarities of this flexible packaging technology with the MAP since both modalities eventually result in the removal of air from the package’s environment. ePac flexible packaging allow you all the things you need to prolong the life of cheese. So, you can look out for companies that provide quality flexible packaging service.
Besides cheese, vacuum packaging is commonly used to preserve the freshness of other foods like cured meats, nuts, smoked fish, cereals, and coffee.