Vacuum Packaging

What Is Vacuum Packaging? What Are The Advantages Of Vacuum Packaging Food?

Vacuum packaging is a widely used method in the food industry for preserving and extending the shelf life of perishable products. By removing air from the packaging, vacuum sealing helps maintain the freshness, flavor, and safety of food. This article explores what vacuum packaging is, the different types of vacuum packing machines, and the advantages of vacuum packaging food.

What is Vacuum Packaging?

Vacuum packaging involves removing air from the package before sealing it. This process reduces the oxygen content, which inhibits the growth of aerobic bacteria and mold, thus extending the shelf life of food products. Vacuum packaging is commonly used for meats, cheeses, vegetables, and other perishable items.

What is Vacuum Packaging?

Types of Vacuum Packing Machines

Edge, Suction, and External Vacuum Sealers

These machines are ideal for small-scale operations and home use. They work by placing the open end of a bag into the machine, which then sucks out the air and seals the bag. They are easy to use and cost-effective for low-volume packaging.

Typically these machines use a dry piston vacuum pump which is often considered a "maintenance-free" pump. They are just used to seal dry goods only.

Single Chamber Vacuum Sealers

Single-chamber vacuum sealers are suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. In these machines, the product is placed inside a vacuum chamber, and the air is removed. The machine then seals the bag. These sealers are versatile and can handle a variety of bag sizes and materials.

Single chamer like external sealers, a plastic bag is typically used for packaging. This type of machine is also capable of sealing liquids, it can eliminate the risk of the liquid being sucked out of the open edge of the bag. 

Double Chamber Vacuum Sealers

Double chamber vacuum sealers are designed for higher volume operations. They have two chambers that allow for continuous operation. While one chamber is being evacuated and sealed, the other can be loaded or unloaded, increasing efficiency and throughput.

Double Chamber Vacuum Sealers

Double chamber vacuum packaging machines are commonly used for:

  • Fresh meat
  • Processed meat
  • Cheese (hard and soft)
  • Candy and chocolate

Rotary Belt Type Vacuum Sealers

Rotary belt-type vacuum sealers are used for continuous, high-speed packaging. They have a conveyor belt that moves products through the vacuum and sealing process. These machines are ideal for large-scale food processing facilities.

The vacuumed and sealed bags are automatically unloaded. The packaging plate of the machine is adjustable to 4 degrees, which allows the vacuum packaging of food with soup and liquid.

Rotary belt type packaging machines are commonly used for:

  • Fresh meat
  • Processed meat
  • Seafood
  • Pickles
  • Cheese (hard and soft)
  • Candy and chocolate

Any other packs that need vacuum sealing, and the size of the pack is not too big.

Automatic Belt Vacuum Chamber Machines

These machines are similar to rotary belt sealers but are fully automated. They can handle high volumes and are used in large production environments. Automatic belt vacuum chamber machines offer consistent sealing and are suitable for a wide range of products.

Automatic Belt Vacuum Chamber Machines

Automatic belt vacuum chamber packaging machines are commonly used for:

  • Fresh meat (large portions)
  • Processed meat
  • Large sausage logs
  • Cheese (hard and soft)

Thermoforming HFFS Vacuum Packaging Machines

Thermoforming Horizontal Form Fill Seal (HFFS) is a type of machine that form the package from rolls of packaging film (webbing). Products are loaded into the thermoformed pockets, the top web is laid and sealed under a vacuum, MAP (modified atmosphere), or skin packaging producing rapidly packaged products.

Thermoforming in vacuum packaging is commonly used for:

  • Fresh and marinated meat
  • Sausage
  • Cheese
  • Candy/chocolate
  • Grain
  • Grab-and-go snacks (beef jerky, snack sticks)
  • Pharmaceutical and medical products
  • Coins/collectibles

What Are The Advantages Of Vacuum Packaging Food?

Extend Shelf Life

Vacuum packaging significantly extends the shelf life of food products by removing oxygen, which slows down the spoilage process and inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Safety

By eliminating the air from the packaging, vacuum sealing reduces the risk of contamination from bacteria and mold. This helps ensure that the food remains safe to eat for a longer period.

Storage

Vacuum packaging reduces the volume of food products, making storage more efficient. It helps in organizing the storage space better and protects food from external factors such as freezer burn and dehydration.

Flavor/Quality

Vacuum sealing preserves the natural flavors, textures, and nutritional value of food. It prevents moisture loss and protects the food from oxidation and spoilage, maintaining its quality.

Sous Vide

Vacuum packaging is essential for sous vide cooking, a method where food is cooked at precise temperatures in a water bath. Vacuum-sealed bags ensure even cooking and prevent the food from coming into contact with water, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes.

Benefit of Vacuum Packing

Conclusion

Vacuum packaging is an invaluable technique in the food industry, offering numerous benefits such as extended shelf life, enhanced safety, efficient storage, and maintained food quality. With various types of vacuum packing machines available, businesses can choose the right equipment to meet their specific needs. Whether for small-scale home use or large-scale commercial operations, vacuum packaging remains a reliable and effective method for preserving food.

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