Nitrogen Generators for Potato Chips and Snack Packaging
Oftentimes when people crave a salty and delicious snack, the first thing they reach for is a bag of potato chips. Potato chips are a ubiquitous snack option because they’re tasty, satisfying, cheap, and convenient. A common complaint about chips, however, is that half the bag is usually filled with air. There’s actually a very good reason for that. It’s not just air. It’s nitrogen gas and it helps preserve the freshness and shelf life of your favourite salty snacks, so they always taste great and stay crispy.
Why Is Nitrogen Gas Preferred for Chips and Snacks?
What’s so special about nitrogen gas? Nitrogen gas is used to displace and completely remove ambient air containing oxygen and moisture from the inside of food packaging. Oxygen exposure causes food to spoil faster and can significantly reduce its shelf life.
One of the main reasons nitrogen is the gas of choice for the food packaging industry is because of its uniquely inert qualities. That means nitrogen is completely undetectable to the senses and won’t alter or interact with the taste, smell, or appearance of the food itself. All nitrogen does is help preserve the original state of freshness of the food in a completely enclosed space. Once the packaging is opened and oxygen is allowed to get into it, nitrogen escapes and the food spoiling process begins.
If you leave chips or other snack foods out long enough, you’ll notice they start to soften and get stale. That’s because of the humidity in the air. The oils and fats in snack food can even start to get rancid from reacting with oxygen in ambient air if left exposed for a longer period of time.
How Is Nitrogen Used in the Food Packaging Process?
When it comes to chips and other packaged snacks such as nuts, snack food manufacturers flush the packages with nitrogen before the product is placed inside and the package is quickly sealed. This is a crucial step to ensuring the prolonged shelf life of your favourite snack food items. It also prevents chips from getting soggy due to moisture in the air and it maintains the freshness, taste, texture, and even the smell of the food during the transportation and sale process.
Nitrogen generators for the food packaging industry are a wise investment because they preserve and prolong the overall quality of the product to guarantee consistency and complete customer satisfaction at all times.
What Are the Benefits of Using Onsite Nitrogen Generators for Snack Food Packaging?
There are a lot of excellent benefits to purchasing and installing onsite nitrogen generators for potato chips and other types of food packaging.
Oxidation occurs when ambient oxygen comes into contact with packaged food items. Food spoilage is one of the most common signs of oxidation. It includes a noticeable odour, a change in appearance, and textural changes such as softness, staleness, etc.
Inhibits Growth of Bacteria on Snack Foods
The oils in many snack foods, particularly potato chips, are prone to growing and attracting all kinds of foodborne bacteria that can be harmful to your health. When moisture and oxygen get inside food packaging, they facilitate the development of bacteria that causes food to spoil faster. Nitrogen gas protects your favourite snack foods and creates an environment that’s unconducive to the growth and survival of bacteria-causing microorganisms.
Maintains Chip and Snack Food Structure
Filling snack food packaging with nitrogen gas helps maintain the structure of the packaging and keeps the product from getting completely crushed during the shipping process.
Nitrogen Gas Is Completely Safe
Nitrogen gas is non-reactive and inert. Unlike oxygen, there’s no risk of nitrogen ever having an adverse chemical reaction with any other substances with which it comes in contact. With an onsite nitrogen generator, nitrogen gas is also easy to access and produce since it makes up about 78% of the air we breathe.
It’s Used More Often Than You Think
Nitrogen gas isn’t just used to keep packaged snack foods fresh. It’s also used for many other types of packaged product in the food and beverage industry including coffee, juice, wine, beer, nuts, rice, crackers, granola bars, and the list goes on. Nitrogen gas is injected into these food packages through a process known as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). MAP entails modifying the internal atmosphere of food packaging by injecting nitrogen in it to displace ambient air that contains oxygen and moisture.
Reduced Cost and Lower Environmental Impact
Onsite nitrogen generators for the food packaging industry eliminate the need to order and transport nitrogen tanks or bulk liquid nitrogen to food manufacturing facilities. Food packaging is typically a very continuous process which is particularly well suited to using nitrogen from an onsite nitrogen generator. In addition, given the typical nitrogen purity requirement for MAP is 99% to 99.9%, onsite generated nitrogen produced from a PSA nitrogen generator is much lower in cost then purchasing nitrogen from traditional industrial gas suppliers.
Typical costs to produce nitrogen onsite from a PSA nitrogen generator for MAP requirements range from $0.08 to $0.10 per 100 cubic feet ($0.03 to $0.04 per M3). Compare that to your current nitrogen costs from your industrial gas supplier. Nitrogen generators are a cost-saving investment that also helps protect the environment by limiting the number of transport trucks on the road and ultimately lowering your company’s carbon footprint.
Producing your own nitrogen onsite also increases production efficiency by saving time and preventing disruptions and delays caused by late nitrogen tank deliveries.