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Benefits of EB Crosslinking for Vacuum Skin Packaging


Vacuum Skin Packaging in Stores

If you walk through the aisles of your local grocery store, there's a high probability you will see vacuum skin packaging (VSP) around every corner. VSP, often used to package meats, cheese, and entrees, has had a demand spike in recent years. Its ever-growing popularity is a large contributor to the growth of the global skin packaging market, leading the market to flourish from now until 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% (Technavio). VSP is also increasing its share of the case ready segment, rising to a 17% market share while MAP and overwrap are falling (PCI Films). The benefits to shelf life, minimal packaging, and other attributes are a large reason behind the growth VSP is experiencing.

What is Vacuum Skin Packaging?

Vacuum skin packaging is typically a clear, skin film that fits around the form of a product. It can form to distinct product profiles and irregularly shaped food or objects. This method allows brands to prominently showcase their product and the quality of what's inside. VSP is typically used to package food products and is ideal for fresh or processed meats, cheeses, and any fresh or frozen entrees.

There are many benefits offered to both the consumer and the retailer. Products packaged with a vacuum have minimal oxygen and little material, resulting in the following:

  • Increased shelf life and minimized loss
  • Minimal need for preservatives
  • Zero freezer burn
  • More affordable
  • Less material, more sustainable

When packaging meats, a large concern of purchasers is how long the meat will keep before spoiling and becoming unsellable. Vacuum skin packaging offers a longer shelf life than other packaging methods.

Fresh Retail Meat Shelf Life

Whole Muscle Fresh Retail Meat at 4° C

Vacuum Skin Packaging

60-90 days

Low O2 MAP with CO2 and N2

30-60 days

High O2 MAP

12-16 days

 Air Permeable Overwrap

5-7 days

 Source: Where is MAP Going? Meat Science, Elsevier, 2008

 

Benefits of EB Crosslinking for Vacuum Skin Packaging

When you add ebeam crosslinking to VSP skin you enhance the package as a whole and make it an even more attractive option for retailers and consumers. Benefits include:

 

1. Shrinkability

EB crosslinking on skin packaging improves the overall "shrinkability" of the skin. This allows it to shrink closer to the product and eliminate more oxygen, guaranteeing a final product that lasts a long time on the shelf.

2. Heat Resistance

Heat proof packaging is a necessity for some items, like chocolate, poultry, dairy, and other perishable products. EB crosslinking upgrades a product's heat resistance and enables the product to maintain its unspoiled state for a longer time when exposed to warmer temperatures.

3. Puncture Resistance

By the time a product reaches the shelves of a supermarket, it's been through the supply chain, transported on multiple trucks, and passed between stockers at the local store. Puncture resistance is a key trait to ensure a product is not damaged and maintains quality along the route. Electron beam crosslinking enhances a package's puncture and rub resistance, resulting in a stronger, more durable package that is less likely to be damaged and unsellable.

 

Vacuum skin packaging with  crosslinking has countless benefits to offer the consumer and retailer. If you would like to learn more about how EB works hand in hand with VSP, or any other application, please click the link below to submit your inquiry.

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