Modified Atmosphere Packaging: Everything You Wanted to Know

Modified Atmosphere Packaging: Everything You Wanted to Know


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From the definition, usage, methodology, and types to benefits, this brief guide helps you understand everything about MAP. 

Modified atmosphere packaging or MAP is not the latest buzzword. It has been in the use since the 1820s.

If you are new to MAP, it is important to know some essential aspects of this packaging.

For your convenience, we have broken down the topic into easy details.

First of all, let’s find out what is modified atmosphere packaging.


Wikipedia defines modified atmosphere packaging as “the practice of modifying the composition of the internal atmosphere of a package (commonly food packages, drugs, etc.) in order to improve the shelf life.”

Simply put, modified packaging is designed to keep food fresh and nutritional for longer.


A modified atmosphere is an environment creating by modifying the natural distribution and makeup of atmospheric gases.

In terms of packaging, it involves modifying or regulating the makeup of gases contained within each package to provide the right conditions for improving the shelf life and minimizing oxidation and spoilage of perishable food and beverage product.

In other words, the MAP is a packaging system that changes the gaseous atmosphere surrounding a food product inside a pack so that it can support the preservation of the food.

An appropriate MAP achieves and maintains an optimal respiration rate to preserve the freshness, taste, and nutrient of foods throughout their shelf life.


The first documented use of modified atmosphere dates back to 1821.

Jacques Etienne Berard, a professor at the School of Pharmacy in Montpellier, France, discovered the delayed ripening of fruits in low oxygen storage conditions.

In the 1930s, Controlled Atmosphere Storage or CAS was utilized for the ships carrying fruits. In the 1970s, MA packages were started using in stores for back and fishes. Over the years, MA has become one of the popular packaging.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging


Gas Flushing:

Nitrogen is generally used to decrease oxygen within the packaging. In a nitrogen gas flushing, nitrogen gas is pumped in to reduce oxygen. As a result, it delays oxidation as well as prevents the growth of organisms.

 Barrier packaging films:

A packaging with increased protection is another example of MAP. This is achieved by using barrier packaging materials that provide reduced permeability to air and moisture.

 Scavenger or desiccant packs:

Oxygen scavengers or desiccant packs are defined as sachet type packages that contain a mixture of ascorbic acid and iron powder or activated carbon. They act as catalysts or activators, absorbing moisture and oxygen.


  1. Modified Atmosphere Packaging improves the shelf life of food products. For example, it can increase the shelf life of meat from 3 to 21 days, chest from 7 to 180 days, and pasta from 3 to 60 days. 
  2. Improved shelf life extension minimizes the cost of a product by reducing spoilage, as well as allowing it for long-distance export. 
  3. For cultivators and consumers, it can extend the seasons of certain foods. 
  4. It minimizes the use of chemicals in food preservation. 
  5. It checks the growth of negative bacteria, aerobic microorganisms, and molds inside the packages. 
  6. Improved shelf-life MAP packages help food manufacturers and distributors to better control the availability, costs, and quality of the product.
  7. Longer freshness cycles allow retailers to minimize frequent product rotation, restocking, and removal, thereby lessening labor and waste disposal costs. 
  8. Distributors can ship to more territories or offer a wide range of product lines to the vendors since less frequent product replacement requirement allows growth in other areas. 

So you must have understood everything about modified atmosphere packaging or MAP. What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.


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