This should appeal to ready meal manufacturers, who are under increasing pressure to cut down on artificial additives and improve the nutritional value of their products.
The FreshMax works by continually absorbing oxygen that permeates packaging throughout the shelf life of a product, minimising the need for BHA, BHT, sulphur dioxide, sorbates, benzoates, and other food additives.
It can also control the oxidative chemical and biochemical spoilage reactions that occur in products within a sealed package. The absorber reduces and maintains the oxygen content within packaging to below 0.01 per cent.
Multisorb describes the FreshMax as an outgredient in that it extends product freshness and retains food taste and colour without being an actual food ingredient. The oxygen absorber protects packaged foods such as sliced deli and processed meats, nuts, baked goods, snack foods, and dairy products from spoilage, mould growth and other damage.
The company says that it can be used by itself or in conjunction with vacuum/ gas flushed packaging to further reduce ambient oxygen present at the time of packaging to absorb virtually all-residual oxygen within packaging. By removing oxygen from packaging, food products retain their natural colour and preserve nutritive value.
FreshMax is a self-adhesive oxygen absorber that is individually die cut and then spooled to permit application with most pressure sensitive labellers. Multisorb says that FreshMax labels can be applied to the interior surface of almost any package.
FreshMax is made entirely of solid food grade ingredients that are resin bonded within the package structure and will not spill onto food, even if the packet is cut open.
Market analyst BCC has been following food packaging trends closely, and believes that such packaging concepts are vital to the future of food production. In its report, "Active, Controlled and Intelligent Packaging for Foods and Beverages," BCC says that advances in active packaging have spawned oxygen scavengers, antimicrobial films and gas permeable packages, while controlled packaging has led to modified atmosphere packaging, moisture absorbers and other hybrid forms of packages to keep foods fresh.
The analysts identify a trend towards conveniently packaged foods, fast-preparing or already prepared, with less chemical additives that still possess a long shelf life, and it is this growing sector that Multisorb is keen to exploit.
Indeed, along with changes in electronic identifiers that track freshness, temperature and even provide communications with smart refrigerators, BCC contends that a new world of packaging is emerging.
Retail trends indicate that perishable foods comprise over 50 per cent of all foods and therefore must be packaged in either gas permeable or re-closeable packaging to avoid spoilage, so the food will last from the manufacturer to the table.
Even non-perishable, dry foods need to have an extended shelf life. According to the analysts, retailers prefer at least a year's storage on shelves to meet their requirements for non-perishable dry food packaging.