Nitrogen Food Packaging: How Nitrogen Flushing Keeps Your Food Fresh

Packaged foods sold in grocery stores and convenience stores are specially packaged to keep the food fresh for a long time. Nitrogen is a crucial part of that packaging process. Whether you’re thinking about starting a business in the food industry or you’ve just always wondered how processed foods can stay safe to eat for so long, this information about nitrogen food packaging can help.

What Happens to Food Exposed to Oxygen

Oxygen causes food to deteriorate, so long-term food preservation starts with removing the oxygen from the container. Oxygen causes fats to go rancid, colors to change, and food products to spoil. There are two ways to remove oxygen from a container: Vacuum packaging the container or flushing the air out.

Vacuum Packaging Doesn’t Work For All Types of Food

Vacuum packaging is one way to remove oxygen, but this type of packaging is only safe to use for certain types of food. Beef jerky is an example of a food type that does well with vacuum packaging. During the vacuum packaging process, food is placed in a plastic sheath, and all the air is removed. Fragile foods break under these conditions, so only sturdy food items, like beef jerky and coffee beans, are appropriate food for this type of packaging.

Nitrogen Flushing Replaces Oxygen in Food Packaging

Nitrogen flushing is an excellent option for fragile foods like chips, snack foods, and crackers. During the nitrogen flushing process, nitrogen replaces oxygen inside the package. The nitrogen gas fills the package and creates a cushion, preventing the food from spoiling. Food doesn’t react with nitrogen the way it does with oxygen, so nitrogen in place of oxygen helps keep the food fresh.

The gas also prevents the sides of the bag from being crushed around the food to help keep the food intact. Nitrogen gas is harmless to people; when the bag is opened, the nitrogen escapes into the air. Since nitrogen makes up nearly 80% of the air we breathe, it’s considered safe.

How Nitrogen Packaging Food Works

Food is placed inside a package prior to flushing the package with nitrogen. A nitrogen food packaging machine forces oxygen out of the bag and then immediately replaces the oxygen with nitrogen. Once the space inside the bag has been filled with nitrogen, the bag is then sealed.

Once the bag opens, the food begins to deteriorate because it’s once again exposed to oxygen. The deterioration of the food can be slowed by clipping the bag shut and limiting the oxygen inside, but once the bag has been opened, the spoilage of the food becomes inevitable.

Are You Packaging Food? Why A Nitrogen Generator is Important

Nitrogen tanks are a common tool that food packaging facilities use to package their food. Unfortunately, nitrogen tanks are inefficient for a variety of reasons.

Problems with nitrogen tanks include:

  • Storage space. Nitrogen tanks take up a lot of room and need to be stored until they’re returned to the distributor.
  • Cost. While nitrogen tanks may seem like they don’t cost very much, they represent an ongoing cost to the business. If your business rents nitrogen tanks regularly, the costs for these tanks can add up.
  • Supply chain issues. Nitrogen tanks are susceptible to supply chain problems that can cause delays. If your supplier of nitrogen tanks is for any reason experiencing a supply problem, then your business could be at risk.
  • Environmental problems. Nitrogen delivery requires a truck to arrive at your facility on an ongoing basis, burning fossil fuels to keep your business going.

Purchasing a nitrogen generator for food packaging can solve all of these problems. A nitrogen generator is an efficient tool for producing a steady stream of nitrogen on site. Nitrogen generators are better for the environment because they’re energy efficient. They’re also cost-efficient. While a nitrogen generator does involve some upfront costs, once the generator has been purchased, the only other associated costs are the energy to keep the generator going and maintenance.

Need a Nitrogen Generator? Contact On Site Gas

On Site Gas Systems manufactures and supports nitrogen generators for businesses in the food packaging industry and a variety of other industries. To find out more about how a nitrogen generator can benefit your business or to get a quote for a nitrogen generator, contact us today.

Why Are My Bag Of Chips Half-Full Of Air?

Have you ever opened a bag of chips and wondered, why chip bags have so much air? Have you ever been disappointed to see a large pocket of space in your chip bag?

It may surprise you to learn that the large air pockets in your bag of chips aren’t air at all and that chips came this way for a very good reason. There’s a science behind the art of chip packaging. Everything happens for a reason. Here’s what you should know.

The “Air” In Your Bag of Chips Isn’t Air At All

Air is not suitable for food. Exposure to air is what causes food to spoil. Over an extended period, air causes microorganisms to grow. Yeast and bacteria will grow and thrive when exposed to air. These are the microorganisms that cause food to break down. In addition, exposure to air can speed up chemical reactions in food, causing the food to smell, taste bad and look bad.

Chips can stay good while in the bag as long as the bag isn’t opened. This is because the air was removed from the bag before it was sealed. The environment inside the bag is not conducive to the chemical reactions and growth of bacteria that food needs to break down.

So, What’s the Gas In The Bag of Chips?

The air in your bag of chips is a harmless gas called nitrogen. Nitrogen helps protect your food’s color, flavor, odor, and structural integrity. Before your bag of chips was closed with chips inside, the bag was filled with nitrogen. Nitrogen is a gas that’s found in the air. Nearly 80% of the earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen.

Chip manufacturers refer to filling your bag of chips with air as “slack fill.” Slack fill is a necessary process that does more than prevent your chips from spoiling. Here’s what else you should know.

Nitrogen Inside the Bag Helps the Bag Stay Inflated

You’ve probably noticed that chips can be fragile and easily crushed under certain conditions. Nitrogen in your chips protects them by keeping the bag inflated around them – as long as the bag is sealed and nitrogen inside, the chips can maintain a cushion that prevents them from becoming crushed.

How Does Nitrogen Get In The Chip Bag?

Food manufacturers have machines for removing oxygen-rich air out of the bag of chips while filling the space with nitrogen. Once this is done, the bag is sealed quickly before it can refill with air.

In addition to the special machinery that can remove the oxygen from the chip bag, many chip manufacturers have a nitrogen generator on hand to create the nitrogen. While nitrogen can also be rented from storage tanks, many chip manufacturing companies have found that nitrogen generators are a cost-effective, eco-friendly way to create a lot of nitrogen on demand.

Need a Nitrogen Generator? Contact On Site Gas

Your business can benefit from a nitrogen generator if you’re making and selling chips. A good nitrogen generator can help save your company money over time, compared to the cost of renting nitrogen tanks and having them delivered.

In addition, finding a steady supply of nitrogen tanks can be tricky since supply chain issues can delay regular deliveries. The best way to keep your company producing and selling chips (cost-effectively) is to get a nitrogen generator for your plant. On Site Gas can help with this. We sell reliable nitrogen generators. Contact us today to learn more about how you can get an onsite nitrogen generator for your business.

On-Site Nitrogen Generators: 5 Reasons To Make The Switch From N2 Bottles This Year

If your business relies on nitrogen for its manufacturing process, there are many reasons to switch from nitrogen tanks to an on-site nitrogen generator. Switching to an on-site nitrogen generation system can save your business money and keep your business running smoothly day in and day out. Once you know all the benefits of having a nitrogen generator for your business, you may be ready to make the switch. When this happens, On Site Gas can help. Here’s what you need to know about switching from N2 bottles to an on-site nitrogen gas generator.

1. It’s Cost-Efficient

Delivery of nitrogen can be costly. Tank rentals, delivery charges, administrative costs, and other fees can add up quickly when you’re paying for nitrogen gas delivery. What’s worse is that nitrogen is always lost during the delivery process. Your business paid for the nitrogen, but it never made it on site.

On-site nitrogen gas generation may cost more in the beginning, but this one-time cost could turn out to be far less than the ongoing cost of nitrogen tank rental. How much do you spend on nitrogen every month? How much does this amount to per year? Compare this to the price of a nitrogen generator to find out how quickly you would begin to save money if you purchased a nitrogen generator. For a free quote on the cost of a nitrogen generator, contact On Site Gas.

2. Increases Safety

Nitrogen tanks are stored at low temperatures or incredibly high pressure. Either way, this can make handling nitrogen tanks dangerous, and accidents on site can lead to injuries or worse.

OSHA standards dictate how to handle nitrogen as a compressed gas and as a liquid, however, handling nitrogen from a nitrogen generator simplifies everything. Nitrogen produced on demand from a generator is safer to handle overall and can lead to fewer on site accidents.

3. Reduces Downtime and Supply Issues

Nitrogen gas that arrives from a regular delivery of tanks or cylinders is inherently subject to delays and supply chain problems. As long as your business is relying on another business to deliver nitrogen to your site, you are at risk of a variety of problems including shortages, closings, and any other delivery-related problems.

Everything from weather to strikes can impact your delivery of nitrogen, depending on the circumstances. If your business relies on nitrogen delivery as an essential part of its operations, then you could be at risk. With an on-site nitrogen generator, your business will have an on-demand product, available at any time, as needed. This can help ensure your business operations are kept running smoothly.

4. Environmentally Friendly

It takes a great deal of energy to turn nitrogen gas into a liquid, and even more to turn the liquid back into a gas. All this energy use is bad for the environment. But what’s better for the environment is to produce nitrogen on demand from a generator.

Nitrogen generators use comparatively less energy just to run, and of course, do not use natural resources for regular delivery in the way that nitrogen tanks do. In other words, nitrogen tank delivery requires a delivery vehicle to arrive at your facility. The delivery vehicle releases pollution into the air, and also requires the use of fossil fuels to power the delivery vehicle.

Using a nitrogen generator is an excellent way to use fewer natural resources to run your business. Nitrogen generators are a greener, more eco-friendly solution.

5. Fits Specific Needs

Nitrogen generators are able to switch their purity levels for the application at hand, while tanks are not able to provide this service. Having a nitrogen generator on hand to fit the specific needs of the user is much more practical than keeping nitrogen tanks on hand for each task.

Interested in Installing a Nitrogen Generator? Contact OnSite Gas

On Site Gas creates nitrogen generators for businesses around the world, including membrane nitrogen generators and PSA nitrogen generators. We also custom-build generators for customers who have specific, hard-to-meet needs. To learn more about how a nitrogen generator can benefit your business, or to get a quote for your nitrogen generator system, request one today from On Site Gas.

How Does Modified Atmosphere Packaging Protect The Food You Eat?

Modified atmosphere packaging is designed to prolong the shelf life of food products. Known by its acronym, MAP, this type of packaging can enhance product safety by protecting against food spoilage. MAP works by limiting the oxygen exposure of food. This type of packaging is beneficial to companies and consumers. MAP enables companies to sell quality food that stays fresh for a long time and allows them to meet the increased demand for food around the world.

What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging? How Does Modified Atmosphere Packaging Protect Foods?

MAP is a type of packaging that has been around for many years. It is a trusted and commonly used packaging method that helps keep food safe for long periods.

To understand how MAP works, you must first understand what causes foods to become aged and discolored. Exposure to oxygen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide causes food to age, with changes to texture and flavor.

MAP uses a modified atmosphere packaging machine to change the environment inside the package to prevent food spoilage. Modified atmosphere packaging machines can be used to store a variety of foods.

Fresh foods, in particular, are good candidates for MAP, including fresh vegetables, fruits, and more. Another example of the types of foods that are commonly packaged in MAP is coffee beans. Coffee beans release a great deal of carbon dioxide while in packaging, but MAP helps to regulate this, which can prevent the coffee beans package from breaking down due to the pressure of the carbon dioxide being released.

What Are the Benefits of MAP?

There are a variety of benefits of MAP, including:

  • Preserve the quality of food. MAP prevents food from changing in color and texture, thus preserving the quality of the food for long after it would otherwise have gone bad.
  • Prevent oxidation. Oxidation produces bad flavors, colors, and odors in food. MAP prevents oxidation from occurring.
  • Extend food shelf life. Because MAP prevents oxidation and bad flavors, it extends the shelf life of food.
  • Eliminate or minimize the need for food preservatives. MAP preserves food which reduces manufacturer dependence on food preservatives.

MAP Creates a Barrier Film

A barrier film is a plastic film that seals the package and preserves an environment inside the package to promote food freshness and prevent food spoilage.

Removal of Oxygen

MAP increases the level of nitrogen in a package, thus reducing the oxygen at the same time. This prevents oxidation and prevents the food from spoiling in the package.

Cost Effective

MAP is a cost-effective type of food packaging. For companies that have an on-site nitrogen gas generator, this type of packaging is affordable because there is no need to rent tanks of nitrogen gas.

Reduces the Need for Food Preservatives

Food that is preserved inside MAP has little need for preservatives to keep the food fresh. This makes MAP a popular packaging product for companies that cater to consumers who want to eat organic or natural foods, with as few preservatives as possible.

Need a Nitrogen Gas Generator? Get Started Today

Nitrogen tanks can be expensive and create some challenges for your business. In addition to posing an ongoing cost, nitrogen tanks can be logistically difficult to deal with and create administrative headaches over time.

If your company uses MAP food storage techniques to package your food, you need a steady supply of nitrogen. On Site Gas can help. We sell a variety of nitrogen gas generators, including custom solutions for clients. To learn more about how our nitrogen gas generators can help your business, contact us today for a free quote.