Minimizing the oxygen around the product and surrounding it only by the modified atmosphere slows the oxidation process for on-the-go food packaging.
To reduce oxidation in grab-n-go foods, we need first to understand what causes it. Oxidation is a chemical process that causes undesirable changes in color or flavor to a product when air or light is present. Discoloration of ingredients and off-flavors can be reduced by removing oxygen from the air around the food.
Now that we understand what causes oxidation let’s talk about the importance of reducing it. In the grab-and-go section of a convenience or grocery store, consumers are looking for options that meet their nutrition and hunger needs. The visual appeal of on-the-go items is critical to consumers picking up and purchasing the products. The products need to look fresh and edible, but they need to have a shelf life that doesn’t add to the swell or shrink for the category. In some food, oxidation can cause foods to be unappealing and look expired even when they are still edible. Oxidation can become a problem for margins, salability and display.
Packaging can be used to minimize oxidation in food. Specifically, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) reduces oxidation by removing oxygen inside the package and replacing it with other gases (like nitrogen and carbon dioxide). The atmosphere inside the package is maintained using barrier films.
The Atmosphere in the Package
Minimizing the oxygen around the product and surrounding it only by the modified atmosphere slows the oxidation process. Once the package is sealed the modified atmosphere extends the product’s shelf life. A longer shelf life reduces shrink and swell in a convenience store environment, reducing waste and increasing profits.
MAP packaging uses barrier films containing multiple layers of different materials to prevent the exchange of gases. Maintaining the low oxygen atmosphere inside the package minimizes discoloration caused by oxidation.*
When searching for solutions for your cooler case and product mix, be mindful that packaging can play a large part in your customers’ shelf life and product appeal. By selecting products for your mix that include MAP packaging, you can reduce shrink and create a destination stop for consumers.