Vacuum sealing is rapidly gaining popularity, particularly against a backdrop of rising living costs. But just why are so many households and businesses rushing out to invest in vacuum packers?
Whether in a domestic or commercial setting, food is a precious commodity and we’re all taking steps to reduce overheads and food wastage. The air around us contains an abundance of microbes and germs, all of which can cause our food to spoil.
Vacuum sealing removes the air from around the food, eliminating the root cause of food spoilage. Ultimately, it means that our food can remain fresher for longer.
To vacuum seal food, it’s first placed in a specially-designed, non-permeable bag. The bag is placed in the vacuum packing machine, which quickly and efficiently extracts air from inside the bag and then seals it airtight.
Many different types of machines can aid the vacuum sealing process, producing aesthetically pleasing products that will appeal to your consumer.
Within the food industry, the most common type of vacuum sealer is a vacuum chamber machine, where the vacuum bag and its contents are placed inside a chamber from which air is extracted. These versatile, affordable machines range in size from compact tabletop models to industrial-scale machines with conveyor belts.
Dip tanks, shrink tunnels, and dryer units are valuable complements to the vacuum chamber machine. Heat and water are used to shrink off the excess bag surrounding your food, which leaves a wrinkle-free packet. A dryer unit helps to quickly dry off your package, so you can label your products more efficiently.
Another popular method of packaging food products is via a tray sealer, particularly where food is destined for the supermarket shelf. There is a wide range of tray sealers, including models that can produce skin packaging by extracting the air from a tray and vacuum sealing a sheet of plastic film to the top.
Thermoformers are similar to tray sealers, but instead of a tray, a plastic film is placed beneath your food product so that you can manufacture a custom tray to suit your needs, reduce waste and maximise profitability. This method of vacuum sealing is particularly popular with meat, cheese, and fish producers.
There are plenty of reasons why you should vacuum seal your food, both at home and within your business! Here’s a quick round-up.
When you vacuum pack food, you’ll naturally apportion it into appropriate meal-size portions. When it’s cooking time, everything’s ready to go and you just need to pop it in the sous vide pot, on the stove, or in the oven, saving you lots of prep time!
Economies of scale can mean that buying food in bulk can be of better value – unless you forget to use the food before it goes bad. Dividing your bulk purchases into sensible meal portions and then vacuum sealing them means you can have your cake and eat it! Food can be preserved longer and will be ready when you are.
Retailers and domestic users can benefit from the extended shelf life that vacuum packaging brings. Vacuum sealing can preserve food 3-5 times longer than conventional storage methods, which gives you more time to consume it. You can also vacuum seal and freeze leftovers, so you won’t need to throw them out and you’ll have a convenient meal on hand for busier days.
Removing the air surrounding our food enables it to be preserved for longer without chemicals or preservatives. For commercial users, it means that products will have a longer shelf life and you’ll lose less money through food going bad. For many families, it means you can save money by buying food in bulk and preserving it until you need it.
One of the traditional annoyances of freezing meats is freezer burn, which occurs when air comes into contact with moisture in the meat. While freezer burn is harmless from a health perspective, it can ruin both the taste and texture of your food. Vacuum sealing creates an airtight environment, preventing freezer burn from forming in the first place.
At home and in business, storage space can be a limited commodity. Vacuum-sealed foods take up less space than storing them in their original containers, so you’ll maximise your available storage space, whilst reducing waste and enjoying fresh foods out of season.
Small, convenient vacuum-sealed bags can be stacked in the cupboard, fridge, or freezer with ease. It makes it much easier to determine what you have on hand and manage your storage space.
With vacuum sealing, you can avoid overeating as well as reduce how much food ends up in the bin. Bulk-buying food and then portioning it into meal-sized portions means you won’t be tempted to cook extra. But, if you do decide to batch cook, you’ll be able to efficiently vacuum seal sensible portions to freeze for another day.
One of the unsung benefits of vacuum food sealers is their ability to retain your food’s moisture – any seasoning, marinades, and juices will all be sealed in the bag with your food. Taste the difference when you cook it!
It’s no secret that we consume with our eyes as well as our mouths, so it’s important to ensure products look as good as they taste. Vacuum sealing products enable you to display their fresh, appealing characteristics in full to grab the attention of your potential consumer.
In the food industry, the use of a vacuum sealer is one great way to set yourself apart from your competitors, ensuring your food always looks appealing and stays as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
Many restaurants, catering companies, farm shops, and other food manufacturers benefit from vacuum sealers to maximise the shelf life of their products. However, even ambient foods can benefit from vacuum sealing such as nuts, cereals, and crisps, which help to ensure food stays fresh and delicious.
At First Food Machinery, we’re proud to be the UK main agent for Webomatic packaging machinery and stock a wide range of vacuum sealing solutions for lease or sale, to suit every business. Get in touch today to discuss your needs.