Plastic has been the most commonly used packaging material for food. Especially meat. Some popular forms of packaging include the tray, sheet, pouch, or film format. It has far surpassed the usage of any other material such as cardboard and glass. Now, you must be wondering why is plastic the perfect choice for packaging meat products and how has its usage evolved over the years?
If the meat has to reach the customer in its prime condition, it has to remain intact. Meat is more prone to oxidation because it has a high-fat content. Therefore, it is crucial to create a high-level oxygen barrier to protect the meat from deterioration. Besides the oxidation, there can be many other physical, chemical, biological and microbiological factors resulting in the deterioration of meat products.
It is essential to understand that there’s no single type of packaging suitable for all kinds of meat. Different categories in the meat sector require different types of packaging.
1. Packaging Fresh meat and Meat product
Fresh meat is the meat that has not been preserved in any way besides refrigeration. The peculiarity of fresh meat is that they have a short shelf life and are prone to oxidation.
When packaging fresh meat, the top film should compose of a flexible material that has a high oxygen barrier. For vacuum packing, you can go with semi-rigid materials. PET and PP trays can be used for thermo sealing fresh meat.
2. Packaging Cured meat
Cured meats have a longer shelf life compared to cooked meat. Cured sausages should be ideally packed using perforated packaging. There are other options too. Pouches with or without vacuum packaging can be used as per requirement. Alternatively, you can use stand-up pouches too. Utilize thermo sealed trays made of PET, PET PE, or you can also use rPET with a top film of flexible material for packaging cured meat.
3. Packaging Cold Cuts
Sliced meats, including cooked cold cuts, can get deteriorated if exposed to oxidation. Vacuum packing and modified atmosphere packaging serve well in packaging cold cuts. Trays made up of multilayer materials also possess barrier abilities and can be used. Individual resealable packets can be used to consume, and re-store the product without any deterioration caused.
4. Packaging Pre-prepared Meat Dishes
Ready-to-eat dishes are trendy in the convenience food category. They are packaged in a way that one can eat them on-the-go. They usually comprise of meat mixed with a sauce or other food items. This packaged pre-prepared meat dish can be pre-heated and consumed. Some prevalent types of packaging for such dishes are
- Vacuum-packed pouches
- Thermo sealed Trays with a flexible material top film.
- Microwaveable packaging to withstand high temperatures.
5. Packaging Frozen Food
The main aim of the packaging used for frozen food, is to withstand extremely low temperatures and be tear and puncture-resistant. The most popular type of packaging format used to pack frozen meat is a semi-rigid structure made of polyethylene and polyamide.Packaging food well is as crucial as picking the best meat, don’t compromise on your packaging needs. If you are looking to purchase any sort of packaging supplies for meat, you can check out a range of options on the Brennan Group.