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Challenging Vacuum Technology

Thu, 01/22/2009 - 8:59am
If your customers are not already pressuring you to stop using vacuum packaging for your products, they might soon start.

Traditionally, food processors use vacuum packages for their products, even though many food products such as processed meat, fish and ready meals tend to change texture and appearance in vacuum — which can drive consumers towards fresh products instead.

An innovative new concept for packaging with modified atmosphere (MAP technology) promises to change things for food processors.

MAP is a packaging technique that modifies the internal atmosphere of a package in order to improve the shelf life of the product. The MAP process frequently decreases the oxygen in the package from 20% to 0% in order to slow down the growth of aerobic life forms and the speed of oxidation reactions. The removed oxygen can be replaced with mixture of carbon dioxide, which can lower the pH and inhibit the growth of bacteria. MAP packaging is used for products as diverse as red meat, seafood, pasta, fresh cuts of fruits and salads and a wide variety of other food products.

Hefestus Ltd., Israel, has introduced a worldwide patented method of sealing trays with modified atmosphere technology, called SLB™ (Shelf Life Booster), which takes MAP technology a step further. Exclusively creating a modified atmosphere without drawing vacuum at any stage, opens new markets to MAP. Unlike other MAP sealers, the Hefestus' modified atmosphere is achieved within one fully automatic, vacuum-free sealing head.

Designed as an alternative for the vacuum packaging in the food industry, SLB extends product shelf life without using synthetic preservatives or freezing, thus enabling storage and delivery of food products either at room temperature or chilled.

"The ready meals trend fits the hectic lifestyle of consumers. Consumers seek foods that look and feel fresh, and now we can help food manufacturers achieve this target easily," explains Oded Shtemer, CEO of Hefestus. "We anticipate a dramatic increase in demand for our Shelf Life Booster equipment during 2008-2009."

Hefestus's unique solution combines advantages for the food processors as well as for the consumers. It keeps the food product fresh, tasty and prevents rancidity. Hefestus' sealing machines provide the lowest oxygen levels of 0.5%, or less, for extended shelf life and are easy to operate and maintain.

For more information about Hefestus, contact their U.S. distributor at hefestus1@hefestus-slb.com.
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