How a 99.5% Vacuum Extends Food Shelf Life and Contributes to Your Bottom Line

Chances are you’ve been using vacuum packaging wrong all this time. Common belief is that as long as you vacuum air out of a bag, your product’s shelf life will be extended and quality maintained. It sure helps a bit but unfortunately, that’s not always true. To get the best results out of vacuum packaging, leaders across industries use a percentage-controlled vacuum (%) over a time-controlled vacuum (secs). The main reasons?

  • Increased shelf life
  • Standardized production and outputs
  • No product yield/weight losses
  • Faster operations
  • No freezer burns
  • Greater machine durability

Using a % vacuum ensures you reach your desired vacuum to maximize shelf life and reap the above benefits – which has a direct impact on your bottom line. But how?


How Shelf Life Changes Under Vacuum

Presence of oxygen is one of the main factors decreasing food shelf life. By using vacuum packaging, you are reducing the oxygen concentration in a package, therefore increasing shelf life. The rule is simple: the less oxygen, the longer the shelf life. Therefore, if you have full control over how much oxygen is removed from a bag, you will achieve better results and be able to keep your products for longer, having a direct impact on your food costs and food waste.

If using a time vacuum, you cannot guarantee how much oxygen is removed from a package. Additionally, it will create differences between some products when shape, weight, temperature or liquid content vary since those factors impact the speed at which the oxygen is removed from a vacuum chamber. Again, the higher the oxygen concentration, the shorter the shelf life.


How a Time Vacuum Actually Wastes Your Time and Money

The easy solution to overcome the downsides of a time vacuum is to increase time to make sure all the oxygen is removed. Sounds fair. However, doing so can result in the two following situations:

  1. Your machine will run for longer than needed, increase idle time and cost you more to do your packaging operations as your employees will be waiting for the machine to finish its cycle. It also makes the pump run for longer than needed, resulting in premature wear.
  2. Your product will “boil under pressure”. When you remove oxygen from an environment, the boiling point drops to room temperature. This creates a balloon effect in the machine, creates evaporation from your product and can even make it harder for the bag to be sealed because of the humidity content. As a result, the evaporation phenomenon reduces the weight of your product; if your product’s price is set per kg (or lb), you’re selling at a lower price than what you should, having an impact on your profitability.

When using a % vacuum, the machine only runs for the time it needs and your products are not exposed to yield losses, accelerating your production speed and leaving money in your pockets.


How Freezer Burns Happen even when Vacuum Packaging

Last but not least, using a % vacuum eliminates risks of freezer burn since you can be assured as much air as possible is removed from the package. On a time vacuum, you could end up in situations where a package only has 90% or 92% of oxygen removed. Although it seems to only be a few percentage points away from 99.5%, it gives enough space for ice to accumulate, which affects the quality of your product. Remember what a bag of frozen veggies full of ice tastes like? Imagine this on a high-quality product your client paid for…

We tested identical products at different percentages to simulate how a time vacuum can affect quality. Watch for yourself:



How Sipromac Can Help

All Sipromac machines are equipped with an electronic % sensor. This will solve common issues seen with time-controlled vacuum sealers:

  • Shorter food shelf life
  • Freezer burns
  • Product yield losses

On top of this, we use Busch pumps – the highest durability standard in the industry – allowing our machines to have a 25+ years life span, accelerating your production speed/output and reducing idle time.

So, what are you waiting for to improve your operations, reduce food waste, and grow your profit margins?