MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) and CAP (Controlled Atmosphere Packaging) define two broad categories. The former is used for barrier packaging products such as meat, cheese, snack food and bread, where a product is enclosed within a barrier package and the atmosphere modified, either by drawing a vacuum or filling it with a gas. CAP refers to the addition or removal of gases to maintain a desired balance. Gas packaging allows meat to bloom, extends shelf life, prevents soft produce from being crushed, and retains moisture.
In South Africa, MAP is in constant demand for a myriad fresh products destined for local and export markets. One converter that’s emerging as a specialist in this sector is Durban-based Packaging World, headed by Dean Gianni.
‘From humble beginnings in 1995, we’ve grown to become a leading supplier to national and international FMCG brand owners, providing anti-mist and BOPP bags and reel stock, laminated bags, rotisserie bags, zipper and vacuum bags and lidding,’ states Dean. ‘We’re currently one of only two companies in South Africa offering top-quality MAP. And, spurred by phenomenal growth and an ever-expanding customer base, we’re providing exceptional packaging and world-class service levels. We constantly monitor international trends in an effort to develop products that improve brands’ on-shelf appeal.’
Today’s consumers demand fresh produce in convenient, easy-to-open packs, and the supply chain wants packaging that protects product integrity and prolongs shelf-life. According to Dean, MAP and CAP deliver on all levels.
‘In their respective forms, MAP and CAP preserve the firmness and smoothness of fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats, slowing the ripening and decaying process,’ he remarks. ‘Shelf-life extension using these packaging formats deliver excellent supply chain benefits such as greater intervals between distribution drops, reduced waste and improved product acceptance and choice. Notably, according to recent global statistics, the use of cartons and MAP significantly reduces spoilage. That’s great for the economy and the environment!’
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In Dean’s experience, close collaboration is needed between growers/packers and packaging suppliers to reap the full benefits of MAP.
‘At Packaging World, we’re guided by a simple checklist in consultation with supply chain partners,’ he relates. ‘Firstly, we have to define the problem that needs to be solved and decide whether MAP is the solution. It’s important to discuss the inherent qualities of the produce to be packed, and understand the potential hazards that could be incurred during handling, plus their influence on the microbiological characteristics of the merchandise. Other considerations are the most suitable packaging material, packaging size, weight and produce dimensions, and the most suitable technology to reach the objective.’
Brand owners and packers who utilise Packaging World’s services have the assurance that what they’re getting is produced and delivered according to the highest industry practices and standards. ‘We have full British Retail Consortium (BRC) accreditation, which is fast becoming regarded as the benchmark for best practices worldwide. This requires the adoption and implementation of HACCP, a documented and effective Quality Management System, and control of the factory environment, product, process and personnel,’ Dean explains. ‘These practices are part of our daily operation and serve to confirm that we’re doing everything possible to deliver the right advice, products and service. For instance, we’ve recently invested in a laser perforator that provides smaller, more consistent “breathing” holes than traditional mechanical perforators,’ he adds. ‘We’ll continue to invest in modern technologies and professional staff and conduct stringent industry audits to achieve our goal of becoming the largest and most professional independent MAP packaging operation in Africa.’