Extending shelf life and maintaining product quality are essential in the food and beverage industry. A nitrogen generator for food packaging provides an effective tool for achieving these goals. Learn more about the role of nitrogen in food packaging, the types of nitrogen generators available, their applications, and more.
The Role of Nitrogen in Food & Beverage Packaging
Nitrogen plays a crucial role in preserving the quality and freshness of packaged food and beverage products, particularly by doing the following:
- Reducing spoilage and oxidation
- Protecting against contaminants
- Extending the shelf life of the products
Eliminating oxygen from the packaging environment slows product deterioration, so customers receive the freshest food and beverages possible.
Types of Nitrogen Generators for Food Packaging
There are three primary types of nitrogen generators in the food and beverage industry:
- Membrane Nitrogen Generators: This type of generator separates nitrogen from other gases using selective permeability. Membrane nitrogen generators are cost-effective and efficient for low-purity nitrogen applications.
- Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Nitrogen Generators: PSA generators adsorb oxygen and other gases to allow the free-flowing release of nitrogen. These units are suitable for moderate to high-purity nitrogen requirements.
- Cryogenic Nitrogen Generators: This type of generator separates nitrogen from other gases by cooling the air to extremely low temperatures. They are an ideal solution for large-scale operations and high-purity nitrogen demands.
Benefits of Using Nitrogen Generators in Food & Beverage Packaging
Using nitrogen generators for food packaging offers numerous distinct advantages, including but not limited to the following:
- Better Product Quality: Using a nitrogen generator helps products remain fresher longer, with improved texture, taste, and color.
- Cost Efficiency: Eliminating the need for expensive nitrogen gas cylinders offers considerable cost savings in the long run.
- Reduced Environmental Impact: Manufacturers can reduce their carbon footprint by decreasing their reliance on nitrogen cylinders.
- Consistency in Nitrogen Purity: Nitrogen generators provide a consistent and stable nitrogen supply.
- Adaptability to Packaging Needs: Nitrogen generators can be customized to meet various packaging requirements and demands of the food and beverage industry.
Applications of Nitrogen Generators in Food & Beverage Packaging
Nitrogen generators are widely implemented for packaging in the food and beverage industry, proving beneficial in the following applications:
- Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP): To effectively prolong product freshness, the oxygen gets replaced with nitrogen during packaging. Examples of MAP include capsule packaging machines that fill coffee pods and VFFS machines that inflate chip bags.
- Nitrogen Blanketing: This prevents container collapse and protects bulk storage during product transfer.
- Beverage Can & Bottle Filling: In addition to maintaining carbonation, nitrogen extends the aroma and flavor in bottled and canned beverages.
Considerations When Choosing a Nitrogen Generator in Food & Beverage Packaging
In nitrogen generation, oxygen is filtered out of a compressed air stream to create a nitrogen gas steam. A nitrogen generator can operate around the clock, with several sizes available to meet the demands of a specific application. Food-grade nitrogen must adhere to various quality and purity standards within the food and beverage industry. Using food-grade nitrogen helps to avoid contamination while lengthening the shelf life of products and preserving the flavor of food and beverage items.
Choosing a nitrogen generator for food packaging involves careful consideration of the following factors:
- Compliance with food safety standards
- Flow rate
- Maintenance demands
- Purity requirements
Nitrogen Generators for Food Packaging from Compressed Air Systems, Inc.
Compressed Air Systems, Inc. provides air compressor services in Tampa, Florida, and beyond. As a leading expert in compressed air, we have over 50 years of industry experience performing maintenance and repairs for a wide variety of air compressor makes and models. Some of the services we offer include the following:
- Air audits
- General inspections
- Leak inspections
- Preventative maintenance
For information on how to install your nitrogen or other compressed air system, download our Compressed Air System Installation Guide, which provides step-by-step instructions and factors to consider for safe installation. Browse our catalog or contact us to learn how Compressed Air Systems, Inc. can help you.