Packaging firm Cryovac has launched a range of self-adhesive oxygen scavenging labels designed to extend product shelf life. They work by removing residual oxygen within the pack.
Cryovac claims that the oxygen scavenging labels can prevent oxidation to preserve flavour, taste and oxygen sensitive nutrients. They can also prevent the growth of micro-organisms such as mould and aerobic bacteria, stop the discolouration and deterioration of oils and fats and reduce the need for food additives.
Oxygen scavengers are generally sold in powder sachet form, appearing loose in the pack and giving what Cryovac describes as an an undesirable foreign body perception. Cryovac labels, however, can be applied to the lidding film of a pack, hidden behind a printed area or product label. This enables the manufacturer to preserve the original appearance of the packaging.
Cryovac also points out that if a powder sachet is cut through when attempting to open the pack, the oxygen-scavenging material can contaminate the pack contents. The new labels however are powder free.
In general, oxygen scavengers are used with modified atmosphere (MAP) applications. In Europe, the use of oxygen scavengers in the food industry has grown sharply in recent years. One of the main applications is the packaging of high quality deli-style meats, which are particularly sensitive to the presence of oxygen.
The Cryovac oxygen scavenging labels have been successfully tested in industrial packaging applications. They require only minimal modification to existing labeling equipment and are available in various sizes in reel form.