Cashew nuts are a delicious and nutritious snack, and we often don’t think much about how they ended up in our mix of nuts. But behind the scenes of the supermarket, prolonged storage of bulk cashew nuts can present a number of challenges, including lipid oxidation, mold growth, insect infestation, and biological activity of the kernel.
These issues can all impact the quality and safety of the cashews, making it essential to find a solution that can help to extend their shelf life and maintain their high-quality. That solution is Modified Atmosphere packaging.
In this blog we’ll highlight the challenges that come with storing cashew nuts and how MAP solves these problems.
Challenges with prolonged storage of cashew nuts in bulk
What we can find in cashew nuts benefits our health, but doesn’t make them easy to store:
Cashew nuts have a high oil content (45-50% of its kernel weight) and are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, they are sensitive to lipid oxidation.
Other challenges with the prolonged storage of cashew nuts include autoxidation (degradation of fats (mostly unsaturated fats), FFA formation, rancidity), molds (growth of mycelium causing off odors, mycotoxin production, i.e. aflatoxin), infestation of insects (ants, grain weevils, meal moths), biological activity of the kernel (respiration causing elevated humidity levels, odors), and the potential for the high lipid content of the nuts to absorb odors from other commodities stored in its neighborhood.
How modified atmosphere packaging helps with storing cashew nuts
Long-term storage under air of especially shelled cashew kernels are subject to rancidity, whereas cashew kernels stored at low oxygen concentrations show little to no oxidation. In addition to low oxygen, temperatures below 10◦C are recommended for storage. But there’s more you can do.
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has been found to be effective for storing cashew nuts. This technique involves altering the atmosphere inside the package to extend the shelf life of the product, keep it fresh and of high-quality, prevent contamination, and reduce waste.
By controlling the oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen levels inside the package, MAP can help to slow down the degradation of the cashews, reducing the risk of rancidity and mold growth.
The Benefits of Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Modified Atmosphere Packaging has changed the food industry significantly. Here are the benefits for products like cashew nuts, and many more.
Extended Shelf Life
The primary benefit of MAP is that it helps to extend the shelf life of food products. By controlling the atmosphere inside the package, MAP can help to slow down the degradation of the product, reducing the risk of spoilage and extending its freshness.
Another benefit of MAP is that it helps to maintain the quality of the product. By controlling the atmosphere inside the package, MAP can help to slow down the degradation of the product, reducing the risk of off-flavors and textures.
MAP can also help to prevent contamination of the product. By controlling the atmosphere inside the package, MAP can help to reduce the risk of mold growth and insect infestation, ensuring that the product remains safe and of high quality.
MAP is a sustainable option for storing food products, as it helps to avoid the use of chemicals in the storage process. This is particularly important for products like cashew nuts, which can be sensitive to chemical treatments.
MAP provides greater control over the product, allowing for greater flexibility in the supply chain. This means that producers can better manage their inventory and ensure that their products are delivered to consumers in a timely manner.
Finally, MAP can provide economic benefits as well. By gaining greater control over the quality and safety of their products, companies can reduce costs associated with waste, recalls, and lost revenue due to spoilage. Moreover, they can optimize when and where to sell their products.
Want to benefit from Modified Atmosphere Packaging?
Or do you want more information on how MAP could benefit your product specifically? Reach out to us for more data or custom solutions.
FAQs about Modified Atmosphere Packaging
What is modified atmosphere packaging?
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a technique used to extend the shelf life of fresh or minimally processed foods. It involves changing the composition of the air inside the packaging to slow down the growth of spoilage organisms and maintain the quality of the product.
Is modified atmosphere packaging expensive or difficult to implement?
The cost of implementing modified atmosphere packaging varies depending on the type of product, the desired shelf life, and the packaging materials and equipment used. However, the benefits of increased shelf life, improved product quality, and reduced waste often outweigh the initial costs.
What types of products can benefit from modified atmosphere packaging?
Many types of fresh and minimally processed foods can benefit from modified atmosphere packaging, including fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts. However, the specific packaging requirements will vary depending on the product's characteristics and desired shelf life. It's essential to consult with packaging experts and conduct testing to determine the best approach for each product.