How to Extend Shelf Life with the Right Equipment

Image result for Extend Shelf LifeGrocery stores, food manufacturers and many individuals use vacuum sealers to protect and preserve food. In fact, vacuum sealers are the most commonly used piece of equipment for food packaging. The reason they are so commonly used is because vacuum sealers dramatically extend the shelf life of food. This is done by removing life-giving air that many life forms use to flourish. While this doesn’t completely eliminate spoilage, it helps a lot.

One of the most common food products to be vacuum-sealed are meats, especially for use in a freezer. Vacuum sealer bags not only decrease bacterial contamination, but also prevent freezer burn. You will commonly see this with halibut and salmon fish fillets & steaks. Vegetables are also commonly vacuum-sealed and frozen. The cold temperature further extends the shelf life of food.

When a store or manufacturer, whether big or small, is in the market for a vacuum sealer, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are two major types of vacuum sealers on the market. These are external and chamber vacuum sealers.Feel free to find more information at how to extend shelf life with the right equipment.

Although useful for low-volume production, external vacuum sealers are not an ideal choice for high-volume packaging. This is because external sealers do not operate, in most situations, at as high a speed as a chamber vacuum sealer. They also cannot be used to replace natural oxygen-based atmosphere in the bags with inert gas such as nitrogen. This is a key factor in packaging products such as potato chips.

Chamber sealers use an entirely different method of packaging versus external vacuum sealers. An external vacuum sealer removes air from within the bag and seals it. A chamber sealer removes air from the entire chamber, including the bag, seals the bag and then returns the vacuumed chamber to a normal atmosphere. Because the bag is sealed within the vacuum, the product is 99.99 percent air free once the process is completed.

Chamber sealers and some high-end external sealers will allow the amount of removed air to be adjusted. This is ideal when packaging delicate food products. When packaging delicate food, a chamber sealer (fitted with an inert gas kit) will remove 99.99 percent of the air within the chamber and then add a set percentage of inert gas (such as nitrogen) back into the chamber before sealing the bag. This way the bag isn’t tight against the food, but the air will not sustain most forms of bacteria.

Before choosing a chamber sealer, it is highly recommended to determine the maximum size of product to be packaged. This is because chamber vacuum sealers are available in different sizes. It is financially prohibitive to purchase a machine, only to find out a year later than larger products need to be packaged. A larger chamber can also allow the user to package multiple items at once, thus increasing packaging speeds.