Humans have always tried to find ways to preserve food for as long as they can, and as the populations grew, the need to pull this off became even more important. This is how food packaging came into being, and over the years, it has become better and better.
But how exactly do you increase the shelf life of canned food through 9improved packaging processes? This is the question that we are going to answer today. If you have been looking to start a packaging company and you aim to provide the best packaging solutions, then this is for you.
Packaging was invented to make it easy for food to last longer on the shelves, but the length of that time depends on a number of factors that can filling machine manufacturers, and packagers have to pay close attention to. They include the following.
Not all foods are the same. There are some that can survive for a very long time than others. Dry foods, for instance, have a longer shelf life by nature compared to foods that have a high moisture content. This has to be considered when coming up with packaging techniques. Foods that are more perishable require a more robust packaging in order for them to score more time on the shelf.
Packaging containers come in varying shapes, materials, and designs. All these come together to play a vital role in ensuring that packaged food stays for as long as it can. Plastic containers, for example, are better for storing wet foods as they don’t react with a lot of chemicals. Glass containers are even better than plastic and metals as they are also transparent. Think of the materials used in making the containers as you come up with packaging solutions for foods.
The packaging process is very important in regards to the shelf life of the packaged food. Again, not all foods are packaged the same. Some require a more rigorous process, with extra layers added for more security than others. Dry foods don’t require a complicated process, as long as they are well sealed in. wet foods that are more perishable, on the other hand, must have the air sucked out to eliminate chances of microbes festering inside the packaging. The bottom line is to keep products free from pollution, safe and stable during the packaging process.
After seeing the other factors, the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is the storage environment. Everything could go to waste even when you do other things right if the storage environment is not right. You have to think about the temperature, the cleanliness and the circulation of air. High temperatures and lack of aeration will make the food go bad faster than anything else. Ensure that the storage areas are clean and open.
How do you determine the shelf of a product? Are the metrics based on the packaging material, the packaged food, or both? To be able to assess the maximum length of time that a food product can stay stored before going bad, a shelf life testing has to be conducted.
There are certain factors that one has to keep in mind before making conclusions. This ranges from the aroma, the oxidation rates, the proliferation of microorganisms beyond the threshold that is then considered unsafe.
These factors are then monitored over time until a definite timeline is arrived at where the food inside starts going bad. This then becomes the basis for creating a shelf life. The packaging material and the nature of the food in question do play a role in this and should never be disregarded.
Once you have determined all the factors, you can now be able to come up with ways of increasing the shelf life beyond what the experimental results gave you. Some of the following are some of the things you can do to improve the shelf life further.
Steel is one of the hardest metals around, and this is the reason most heavy machinery is constructed using steel. The same applies to can seaming machines in the packaging world. There are certain safety standards that they have to meet in order to be used for food packaging. For starters, you don’t want to use machines that can chip easily. This could lead to metallic particles finding their way into packaging containers and into the food.
Using steel machines increases the accuracy of getting the packaging process done the right way, and this minimizes the chances of contamination. This helps boost the shelf life of packaged food products.
Nitrogen is heavily used in packaging through a process called Nitrogen Flushing. This is a method that is used to preserve and protect food from any damage during shipping and storage. By replacing oxygen in the packaging, it acts as the cushion without providing nutrients and air to the microbes, which flourish where there’s oxygen.
Levapack machines make use of nitrogen can seaming machines in their packaging process, and this has greatly improved the manner in which food is packaged, increasing the shelf life a little longer than other processes.
While most of the other packaging processes make use of heat as a sterilization method, vacuum jar sealing uses vacuum to increase the shelf life of the food for much longer. The vacuuming process involved sucking out all the air, which is necessary for microbes to multiply and contaminate food. In short, a vacuum can seamer is less costly, much faster, and it keeps the food fresher for a much longer time compared to other packaging processes. Levapack has several vacuum jar sealing machines that range from the chambered vacuum sealing machines to non-chambered vacuum sealing machines. Each has been designed to handle the packaging process in a unique way, ensuring that food stays longer in storage.
Can seam inspection is an important process that involves the thorough inspection of the packaging containers to ensure that the sealing is done by the book. Most of the packaging process is handled by automated machines, but before the cans are allowed to leave the assembly plant, they have to be keenly inspected for any leaks and breaches which may end up contaminating the packaged products.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that even the smallest crack can cause a lot of issues if nothing is done. Any product that fails the quality check has to be destroyed and the packaging materials taken back to the assembly line for recycling for future use.
The longer the shelf life of food products, the better it is for everyone involved. Fortunately, as packaging technologies continue to grow, the shelf life is being increased a little more. We are not too far off from seeing canned foods that can be stored for years without going bad, thanks to can packaging machine improvements. To understand more about food packaging and the safety protocols involved, then check out our website.