Whether we are making MAP Gas Analyzers for our customers in the fresh produce, meat, coffee, hops, cannabis, or snack industries we are focused on making sure their products get to their customers with their sensory attributes—aroma, appearance, freshness, uniformity, texture, and overall quality— at peak levels.
Let’s take a closer look at how our MAP Gas Analyzers are involved with making our customers’ products better one industry at a time.
Fresh Produce Should be Fresh
When you think of fruit or vegetables you probably think of the word “fresh.”
Nothing is better than biting into a piece of perfectly ripe fruit or cutting up a garden’s worth of fresh vegetables for a salad. And, nothing is worse than biting into a rotten piece of fruit or chomping down on a forkful of salad expecting that satisfying crunch only to have your palate disappointed by a slimy, limp mélange of spoiled vegetables.
When it comes to produce, everyone wants fresh and ripe. Most people don’t live on a farm or have a huge garden. So, most people depend upon grocery stores that sell produce shipped to them from different states or even countries. Because of this, food scientists, packaging engineers, and supply chain experts have progressively found better ways to preserve produce.
Fresh produce continues to respire ever after it is packaged, because of this, it is crucial that Modified Atmosphere Packaging is used in tandem with our MAP Gas Analyzers for this application. The use of our analyzers with fresh-cut produce may actually be where it is most important.
Meat Should Look Good and Taste Good
When it comes to raw meat, consumers intuitively know that red is better than brown, and according to Myra Armson, a Higher Scientific Officer at the International Food Information Service, their intuition is backed up by science.
In her article “Gas mixtures help preserve the quality of packaged meats” published in Scientist Live, Armson discusses the importance of Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for meat preservation writing,
“When raw meat is exposed to air, it deteriorates rapidly, even when properly chilled. In red meats, the bright red color associated with freshness fades to grey-brown as oxymyoglobin is converted to metmyoglobin. Lipid oxidation may also occur, affecting both aroma and flavor acceptability.”
After briefly explaining the scientific background behind meat preservation and decay, Armson makes her main point, which all purveyors of meat should take to heart, when she says,
“The willingness of consumers to purchase meat is greatly reduced by these changes, and so, to ensure commercial success, manufacturers must try to postpone them. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is one way of doing this.”
You Should Hear Yourself Eating Crunchy Snacks
Eating a snack food is about smell, taste, and sound.
That crunch in your ear as you mash into a handful of chips combined with the salty, fatty, starchy flavor is hard to beat.
Now imagine eating a chip or pretzel that is stale or has no crunch.
Not the same culinary experience as eating a perfectly fresh, crunchy snack is it?
Actually, if you ask us, eating a stale snack is a lot like eating a wet sock. (And we’ve yet to meet someone who likes eating wet socks.)
We’re harping on the importance of crunch, because crunch is king when it comes to snack foods, and the only way to ensure that your product maintains its signature crunch is to make sure it stays fresh.
Bridge MAP Gas Analyzers ensure that Crunch stays King
Which is where we come in. Using our Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) Gas Analyzers to test packages of your snack food should be one of your standard Quality Control procedures.
While high-barrier packaging films paired with nitrogen-flushing are necessary parts of keeping your snack foods fresh and crunchy, you also need to test packages off your production line on a consistent basis to make sure that your gas levels are correct and that the integrity of your packaging remains sound. If either of these factors is off in anyway, your product quality will suffer and you’ll run the risk of depriving your customers of that crunch they so desire, that crunch that made them pick up your bag of snacks in the first place.
Don’t deprive your customers of crunch.
Coffee Hates Oxygen
A quality cup of coffee is the final product of a long, complicated process. The process starts with sourcing and selecting the right beans, continues with the processes of roasting, grinding, and packaging the beans and finally ends in the brewing process.
While the sourcing, roasting, and brewing phases of what we will call the ‘coffee continuum’ will determine the flavor profile and quality of the finished cup of coffee to a great degree, the packaging process— which is most often overlooked by the consumer— might just be the most important phase of the ‘coffee continuum.’
The Importance of Coffee Packaging and Package Testing
While consumers may not understand the importance that advancements in packaging have on their coffee drinking experience, they can be happy that coffee companies are beginning to understand just how important the packaging phase of the ‘coffee continuum’ is.
All packaging advancements in the coffee industry are focused on increasing and maintaining the freshness, flavor, and aroma of the coffee under consideration. Maintaining these three, key quality attributes of coffee: freshness, flavor, and aroma requires that the coffee remain as isolated as possible from its greatest enemy: oxygen (O2). Modified Atmosphere Packaging along with our MAP Gas Analyzers enables coffee companies all around the world to do this well.
Good Beer Requires Fresh, Quality Hops
While beer can be complicated, it is basically the combination of a few ingredients: water, grain, yeast, and hops. While having good water, grain combinations, and yeast strains is of utmost importance to the end quality of beer, it is the last ingredient, hops, that has been taking center stage for the last few decades or so.
Hops are the flowers (also known as cones) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. The word Humulus comes from the Latinized form of the Germanic humel or humela which means “fruit-bearing,” while the word lupulus comes from the Latin for “little wolf.” So hops are basically “the fruit of the little wolf,” which might be why it’s not too far-fetched do describe them as having bite, but we’re getting carried away now.
Bracts, and bracteoles (small bracts) are leaf like structures that surround the entire cone, attaching to a central axis. Underneath the bracteoles is where the magic of the hop plant is found, the lupulin glands. Lupulin glands contain the resins and oils most envied by brewers for their distinct attributes that add bitterness, aroma, and flavor to beer. Although a multitude of chemicals are present in these glands, the three main ones are alpha acids, beta acids, and essential oils. Maintaining the quality of these three components of the hop cone is of key importance for brewers striving to get the most out of their hops.
The best way to ensure that hops maintain their magical qualities while they go from hop farm to the brewer is to package them in nitrogen-flushed packages. Nitrogen-flushing hops ensures that all of the oxygen has been removed from the environment in which the hops are stored, thus ensuring that there will be no chance of oxidation taking place and diminishing the fragile nature of the a-acids, b-acids, and essential oils in the hop.
Nitrogen-flushing hops is important, but being able to verify that the flushing process is working accurately and consistently is of equal importance, and this is where Bridge Analyzers comes in.
Keeping Cannabis Fresh and Potent
When it comes to the oxidation of cannabis, oxygen converts the THC in marijuana to cannabinol, or CBN, which lowers the psychoactive attributes of the marijuana. Nitrogen flushing stops this conversion. It keeps the marijuana fresh in appearance and taste, for an extended time and is one of the few packaging techniques that masks the aroma of marijuana when it is in the package. Essentially, nitrogen flushing prolongs the shelf life of the marijuana, so that it keeps its strength. Nitrogen flushing also helps keep marijuana free of molds. Nitrogen flushing has the final benefit of keeping delicate products from being crushed.
Nitrogen flushing is currently the only known methodology for keeping marijuana rich in THC and CBD by stopping the oxidation process, and that’s exactly why all the best-known clinics, laboratories, and dispensaries of marijuana nitrogen-flush their packaging to preserve their product.
Bridge Analyzers Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) gas analyzers can be used by coffee, cannabis, and hop producers during their Quality Control testing processes to confirm that their finished, packaged product is fully sealed from air intrusion and incorporates the proper gas mixture necessary to meet the desired levels of freshness, flavor, aroma, and potency that are desired.
No matter what product you make, we’d love to talk with you about how our series of MAP Gas Analyzers can help you strengthen your Quality Control protocols and continue delivering great products to your customers.