In the food packaging industry, the use of nitrogen can be applied to a number of different processes. Not only is nitrogen a safe, inert gas – with a nitrogen generation system, it can be generated from the surrounding air without your facility ever having to worry about changing out expensive high-pressure cylinders.
Here’s a look at some of the many ways the food packaging field can benefit from nitrogen gas:
Food packaging facilities often use a purging technique to displace oxygen from the storage container. This is typically done before the packaging is sealed, making sure that little to no oxygen is trapped in the container. This helps preserve the food’s freshness, taste and shelf life. See more: Nitrogen Purging with a Nitrogen Generator
Nitrogen can also be used to “pad” the contents of a food package to prevent the package from collapsing and damaging the food products within it. Items like potato chip bags are often padded with nitrogen to maintain the right level of pressure and keep the chips from breaking during transport.
3. Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Modified atmosphere packaging is a type of purging process in which the internal composition of a package is altered to improve shelf life for the Food Packaging Industry. This is commonly done in the food packaging industry, but it is also common in the packaging of pharmaceuticals. This process lowers the amount of oxygen in order to slow the growth of aerobic organisms as well as oxidation reactions. The displaced oxygen is very commonly replaced with nitrogen, although carbon dioxide is used in some industries. See more: Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
4. Vertical Form Fill
Vertical form fill packaging is a specific type of padding process in which a package is created and then inflated with a gas such as nitrogen. In facilities that use assembly line packaging machines, vertical form fill sealing is commonly used to store foods in plastic bag containers. During the final process of vertical form filling, an inert gas (commonly nitrogen) is used to inflate the bag. This is helpful in protecting the foods or liquids during transport. See more: Vertical Form Fill Packaging with Nitrogen
5. Controlled Atmosphere Storage
In controlled atmosphere storage, the air composition surrounding the food product is regulated. Additionally, the temperature and humidity levels are controlled to prevent decomposition and enhance the product’s shelf life. The two main products that benefit from controlled atmosphere storage include fresh fruits and dry commodities like grains, oilseed and legumes. The use of nitrogen in this scenario helps control the threat of insects and other pests, which cannot exist indefinitely without the presence of oxygen.
The most effective and economical way to use nitrogen in food packaging is typically through a nitrogen generator. Instead of having to rely on high-pressure, expensive nitrogen cylinders, a nitrogen generator creates its own supply of nitrogen from the surrounding air. This helps facilities maintain the supply of nitrogen they need to function at optimal levels while also reducing the risk of combustion from other types of gases. Nitrogen’s dry, inert properties have made it the more popular choice for food packaging as well as other manufacturing and storage industries.
To learn more, contact South-Tek Systems, the leading manufacturer of Nitrogen Generation Systems: 888-526-6284