Performance Packaging of Nevada has introduced its AIRSHIELD capability, which extends the shelf life of packaged foods.
The process is designed to chemically remove oxygen from rigid and flexible packages, such as pouches and packages containing fitments or solid closures.
The AIRSHIELD process has been in development for two years and only uses compounds considered GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company hopes AIRSHIELD, which has a patent pending, will be available to food processors and packagers by early 2017.
“AIRSHIELD provides oxygen ‘scavenging’ [the removal of oxygen] and an oxygen barrier all in one product,” explains Rob Reinders, president of Performance Packaging. “AIRSHIELD includes a polymer-incorporated, powder-based additive which removes the oxygen that is trapped during the filling process and then acts as an enhanced-oxygen barrier to keep the oxygen out of the container to extend the product’s shelf life.”
The first applications of AIRSHIELD will be flexible pouches of foods in Performance Packaging’s PouchPops and SipP pouches.
AIRSHIELD’s technical components are constructed so that they don’t start working until food is placed into the package. And any oxygen permeating through the pouch encounters tortuosity (a maze-like path for oxygen permeation created by the addition of mineral compounds in the package). The addition of AIRSHIELD facilitates oxidation in the presence of moisture, giving AIRSHIELD its unique capabilities.
One of the sectors the company plans to use AIRSHIELD for is the burgeoning pouch baby-food industry. Spouts and caps treated with AIRSHIELD will no longer have the ‘browning and clumping’ at the top of the pouch where the foil barrier is absent.
When AIRSHIELD is added to a pouch cap, it eliminates the need for a foil liner on the top of the package, saving costs in manufacturing and offering more consumer convenience.
In addition to the oxygen benefits, early tests have shown that AIRSHIELD stabilizes the ambient relative humidity within the container that is treated. This could be a boon for items that require a high oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and a stable moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR).
Performance Packaging is a supplier of flexible and folding carton packaging, including coffee bags, roll stock, spouted and zippered pouches, and premade retortable pouches.