How Modified Atmosphere works on different food groups

Posted on 10 December 2020

Ever wondered what products are suitable to be packed in a Modified Atmosphere, and why these atmospheres are all different? In today’s blog, we give you a quick overview of popular products that are often packed under a Modified Atmosphere and how the composition of the gasses differs based on each products’ features.

Important to note: in this blog we only look at factors like spoilage and rancidity. However, for each of these products, and many more, Modified Atmosphere is also used to protect them from pests. Read about how this works in this blog.


Like the day, let’s start this blog with coffee. The benefit of this is that microbial spoilage is no risk. But coffee can go rancid, because it has fatty acids, which can oxidize. That’s why Modified Atmosphere is great for coffee: we create a vacuum, get rid of (almost) all of the oxygen, and prevent it from going rancid.

Dairy powders

Depending on the type of dairy, there are different compositions for MAP for dairy powders. And it’s not just for spoilage or rancidity that Modified Atmosphere is used: it’s also about flavor.

For instance, whole milk powder is particularly susceptible to the development of off-flavors caused by fat oxidation. This means that removing the oxygen in the packaging and replacing it with nitrogen and/or carbon dioxide will prevent this from happening, elongating the shelf life while maintaining the flavor.

Read more about the benefits of bulk bags for the dairy industry.


Like coffee, many nuts have fatty acids, which means they could go rancid. For this category, the same method is used as for coffee: get rid of the oxygen and replace it with nitrogen to extend shelf life, keeping the nuts crispy and tasty.

Read more about how MAP improves shelf life for almonds.

‘’A big benefit of Modified Atmosphere, is that it is also suitable for organic products’’

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are tricky. There so many of them, all with their own characteristics and therefore needs when it comes to MAP. That means there’s not just one answer when it comes to creating the perfect Modified Atmosphere.

After harvest, fruit and vegetables continue to breathe. You don’t necessarily want to stop this process - which is also almost impossible, but you want to be able to control it. That’s why fruits and vegetables are often packed in something we call an Equilibrium Modified Atmosphere (EMA). This is a mix of CO2, nitrogen and oxygen, which is adapted to each product.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging: not just for food

A common misconception about Modified Atmosphere Packaging is that it is only suitable for food, but recent developments in for instance the medical cannabis industry have proven that it is valuable in more markets.

Want to know what Modified Atmosphere could do for your product? Reach out to our team of experts to find out!

Want to work towards sustainable supply chain management?

At Masterpack, we are continuously working towards better ways to pack and protect products. We proudly present our newest solution: Modified Atmosphere for FIBC’s. Download our latest whitepapers:

Testing and improving your packaging (1,6MB)
Modified Atmosphere in FIBC's (6,4MB)
Pest prevention and control in bulk packaging (2,8MB)
The Modified Atmosphere Packaging Process Whitepaper

Subscribe here