May 30, 2022
LC Packaging has been testing Modified Atmosphere Packaging, also known as MAP, over the last few months. MAP is a packaging concept used for the controlled process of packaging perishable products, often food products, by keeping their intrinsic value unchanged throughout the entire supply chain. It helps extend the packed product’s shelf-life, preserves the quality, and minimises food waste. MAP contributes to sustainable and responsible supply chain management.
MAP is an already existing manner of packing products. In fact, you might have already come across it in the food shops and supermarkets. Products such as fresh meat or fruits and vegetables are packed that way. However, MAP is a relatively new process for industrial bulk packaging. It has been typically used for dried foods, special organic seeds, refined products, and dairy powders.
Generally, the air around is ambient air, with a typical oxygen concentration of 21%. Next to oxygen, there is also 78% of nitrogen and the rest of the other gases, typically argon, helium, carbon, etc. The ambient air pressure is approximately at a level of 1020 hPa (or mbar).
By applying the MAP process, these concentrations and pressure are changed. A new mix of gasses is purposely built. The primary aim is to evacuate (vacuum) the oxygen from the FIBC as much as possible and replace it with inert gasses, such as nitrogen. Carbon dioxide can be inserted after extracting oxygen as a natural killer for insects, larvae or similar pests if necessary.
By doing so, natural, non-chemical fumigation of the packed product are used and damage to extend shelf-life is prevented, minimising costs throughout the food supply chain.