Food Packaging, done right, should add value to the product. Whether the packaging improves shelf life, reduces waste, increases visibility, or makes shipping simpler, food packaging should make life easier for food processors while helping them sell more and deliver food safely to consumers.
When it comes to proteins and prepared foods, vacuum skin packaging definitely adds value. Not only does vacuum skin packaging help extend shelf life, it also makes foods more appealing to grocers and consumers.
The combination of utility and aesthetics makes vacuum skin packaging the perfect solution for any food processor. VSP is a proven, affordable, worry-free way to present proteins in a crystal-clear, wrinkle-free package while increasing their overall shelf-life.
What is Vacuum Skin Packaging (VSP)?
Vacuum Skin Packaging (or VSP) is a way of packaging food products that maximizes shelf life and enhances presentation while minimizing the necessity for preservatives. VSP works by combining a thin, flexible film with a premade tray or a tray formed in line. The food product resides between the two packaging components under vacuum. Occasionally, laminated paperboard is used, as seen for many years for smoked salmon and other fish. At the outset of the packing process, the film is softened by heating it to a moderate temperature. Afterward, a vacuum is used to ensure that the film is sealed around the product entirely, securely affixing it to the tray or board, which results in a beautiful, showcased product and packaging nearly free of residual oxygen. Depending on the food being packaged, proper films will be specified to achieve a range of oxygen barrier – from high barrier, common in red meats and cheese; to ultra-low barrier (highly breathable), such as with fresh seafood.
VSP is resistant to freezer burn, typically uses less packaging material and the materials commonly have a better environmental footprint. Some contain significant percentages of recycled content. VSP also reduces the need for MAP gasses such as Tri-Gas blends to achieve desired shelf life. VSP offers flexibility in retail presentation and can be hung vertically like bags or pouches. There are a wide variety of labeling options and customization of materials. For example, forming trays in line at the processor level can be done in colored/tinted materials, offering marketers compelling branding options.
There are plenty of benefits to using VSP, including:
- Extended Shelf Life
- Optimized Presentation
- Minimized Preservatives
- No More Freezer Burn
- Packaging Waste Reduction
- More Sustainable Materials
- Less Liquid (purge) Migration
- Great for Products with Varying Profiles
Extended Shelf Life
VSPs vacuum sealing method removes nearly all of the residual oxygen, keeping food products fresher longer. VSP’s tight contours keep liquids in the protein, reducing purge. Reducing purge improves shelf life and is more appealing than other packaging methods. This extended shelf life allows products to be shipped further, reducing shrinkage and potentially expanding your market area.
VSP enhances the appearance of foods and showcases those deep rich proteins vividly. VSP wraps around the product in a visually satisfying way; it's almost like having a second skin over your products. Tight product adhesion and crystal clear appearance provide a fantastic way to showcase vibrant and rich proteins.
The world is becoming more health conscious, and, as a result, more food processors are responding to consumer requests for fewer preservatives. If you want your packaging and product to appeal to the health-conscious customer, VSP is the perfect way to deliver on that promise without having to sacrifice product longevity.
No More Freezer Burn
Most processors who utilize VSP market their product fresh. However, for consumers who freeze their purchases, VSP all but eliminates freezer burn. Unlike foam trays or modified atmosphere packaging, vacuum skin packaging prevents freezer burn at its source. VSP adheres to the product tightly, preventing freezer burn from accumulating.
Great for Products with High Protrusion
VSP can contain high protrusion products without hiding the product behind traditional bone guard materials for example. Thick cuts of meat can be secured tightly, and be displayed prominently. If extra protection is needed, high clarity bone patches are available which do not lessen clarity.
Only films, trays or paperboard are required for VSP. Usually, there is no need for soaker pads or bone guards.
The USA generates around 263 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSP) every year. Of this 263 million tons, 77.9 million tons are attributed to containers and packaging — or 29.7 percent (EPA, 2015)
Innovation is a necessity if the packaging industry wants to minimize its environmental impact while still doing what it needs to do — protect the product. Depending on materials chosen, VSP yields significantly less solid waste than its food packaging counterparts of EPS foam and heavy rigid trays.
While reducing packaging waste is significant, food waste is even more significant. 1.3 billion tons of food gets wasted every single year (FAO.) VSP protects food better and keeps it fresh longer, leading to less food waste.
Less Liquid Migration
Another key advantage to VSP is its ability to contain liquids. While tray/lid and foam tray overwrap styles allow purge to migrate within the packaging, vacuum skin packaging prevents liquid migration. This means food producers can include sauces without having them transfer between food components, and purge (blood, juices, added solutions) from the meat do not flow around the package. Purge is a significant contributor to spoilage bacteria growth, reducing shelf life.
VSP is a fantastic option for packaging proteins and prepared meals. It has the looks to win over customers and the design to reduce waste and increase shelf life.
At SupplyOne, our team of veteran, experienced food packaging specialists are here to help food processors minimize waste, ramp up production, and increase their bottom-line. We take a 360-degree view of your business and your business's needs, and we offer solutions like VSP to grow your sales and improve your profitability while minimizing your impact.
Are you interested in vacuum skin packaging? Do you want to take your products presentation and shelf-life to the next level? Contact us.