The effect of Modified Atmosphere Packaging on various food products

Posted on 4 June 2020

We have talked about the benefits of Modified Atmosphere packaging before, how it increases the shelf life of food products, without the use of chemicals. But when we take a closer look, we find out how that actually works: what is the practical effect that MAP has on different food products, looking at their characteristics?

How Modified Atmosphere works

To understand the effects of Modified Atmosphere better, let’s look again at why and how a Modified Atmosphere is created.

MAP delays the onset of product degradation by reducing the amount of oxygen the product is exposed to.

Simply put, the process of creating a MAP consists of two stages. First, a vacuum is pulled on the product, removing as much oxygen as possible. Then follows a ‘’flush’’ with other gasses. Oxygen is then typically replaced by nitrogen or a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Optimal gas mixtures vary per product, so they are always customized to the specific food product.

In a nutshell: what the gasses do

Nitrogen is used to dispel the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the packaging. It reduces the onset of oxidation and helps with package stability.

Carbon dioxide inhibits the growth of bacteria which could grow to cause changes in odors and flavor.

The characteristics of food products

MAP has the potential to increase the shelf life of a number of products, such as milk powders, fruits, vegetables, and more. The spoilage of these products is generally caused by the development of oxidative rancidity and/or the growth of micro-organisms (like yeast or mold).

To understand how MAP helps prevent or slow these processes down, let’s look at the characteristics in food products that play a role.


Products breathe too. When looking at fruit and vegetables, they can't all be put in the same category and therefore packaging. For instance, Potatoes and tomatoes have low respiration rates, while asparagus or mushrooms have a higher respiration rate. Using low concentrations of O2 and higher levels of CO2 slows down respiration and therefore the ripening process.


The moisture levels of products also play a big role in creating the perfect MAP. Fresh-cut produce is generally considered high-moisture. Keeping this in mind, the right Modified Atmosphere can delay microbial as well as sensory spoilage.

Fat levels:

Another factor is the levels of fat in food products. For products that are high in fat, Modified Atmosphere keeps them from going rancid as fast as they normally would. It protects the smell, flavor, texture, and overall looks of the product.

What product can we protect for you?

With the combination of Modified Atmosphere and our high-quality FIBCs, we are able to create a more sustainable supply chain in many markets. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can do the same for you.




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)

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