3 Packaging Inventions to be Thankful For
'Tis the season to be thankful! With the holidays fast approaching many people take the time to reflect on blessings in life. Most people are thankful for family, friends, freedom, and a variety of other wonderful things. Nobody takes the time to be thankful for packaging. We understand it may not be as important as many aspects of life, but without some packaging inventions a traditional Thanksgiving meal would be difficult to prepare.
Since we are a packaging company, we feel it is our duty to point out a few packaging inventions to be thankful for. The forms of packaging discussed below are packaging methods for ingredients used in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We are thankful for any packaging invention to extend the life of food and leftovers of our Thanksgiving meals.
Common dishes and sides for traditional Thanksgiving meals often include: turkey, ham, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and a variety of other delicious foods. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays many parts of the United States are in the dead of winter. Ingredients for these dishes are not in season. Packaging innovations are what allows them to be available. Let's look at a few inventions that help to allow one of Americas favorite meals happen year after year.
#1 Vacuum Packaging
Vacuum packaging is used to package poultry products around the world. The vast majority of whole turkeys sold in supermarkets are vacuum packaged. Vacuum packaging is a chemical and additive free form of packaging, removing oxygen from the interior of the package to extend shelf life.
Most turkeys are packaged using nozzle vacuum packaging. Nozzle vacuum packaging inserts a vacuum pump nozzle into a preformed bag or pouch to remove air from the inside of the package. Large turkey suppliers often use rotary nozzle vacuum packaging machines to process mass amounts of turkey.
Vacuum packaging is technically referred to as modified atmospheric packaging. This is because the inside atmosphere of the package is modified to extended the life of the product. A fresh raw turkey will last no more than 10-14 days in a refrigerated environment. It would be impossible to provide turkey to families around the nation with this short of a shelf life.
Vacuum packaging combined with freezer storage can extend product shelf lives up to several hundred times the natural rate. According to Butterball the nation's largest turkey supplier, their packaged turkeys will last up to two years in freezer storage.
Vacuum packaging has also become a favorite home use storage tool. Since home use vacuum sealers have been made popular, millions of families around the world extend the life of Thanksgiving leftovers with vacuum packaging as well.
Canning is one of the most well-known forms of food packaging in the world. Several items in a traditional Thanksgiving meal often use canned goods. Many people quickly open a can and dispose of it when preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Very rarely do we think of how innovative and incredible canning is.
Canning can extend the life of products for years without refrigeration or freezer storage. Canned foods in excess of 100 years old have been examined and deemed free of harmful organisms. Canning is not a new technology, it was developed in the early 1800's in France. It was invented as a means of food preservation for the Napoleon army.
The most basic explanation of canning is: heating a perishable food until the container and contents become free of organisms that may cause health risks then completely sealing the container off. Since many fruits and vegetables are out of season in November, canned foods often provides ingredients for casseroles, pies, sauces, and more!
#3 Flash Freezing
Some people are not into the taste of canned fruits and vegetables. Many people prefer to go with frozen ingredients for Thanksgiving if fresh ingredients are not available. The traditional freezing process can cause excessive ice crystals on fruits and vegetables. The formation of ice crystals can impact the taste and texture of the produce being stored.
Flash freezing enables frozen foods to still have a fresh snap after being stored. Flash freezing was developed in the early 1920's. It is a process that involves freezing products at a faster rate with much lower temperatures than traditional freezing. Initially flash freezing was done with a calcium chloride solution. Now most flash freezing techniques use liquid nitrogen.
The rapid freezing reduces the amount and size of ice crystals that form on produce. This helps to make green beans, broccoli, corn, and many other foods taste fresher during Thanksgiving meals.
These are only a few packaging inventions that help to make Thanksgiving meals as we know it. Millions of families will use these inventions and many other this holiday season and never think twice about them.