Articles & Handy Tips
Flat bags for commercial use and vacuum chamber machines, ribbed bags for heavy duty and external vacuum seal machines, vacuum roll bags and tubing...
If you have any last minute pre-Christmas packaging concerns, consider some of the following machines and practices to ensure your product looks right and gets to its destination in one piece!
Shrink-a-pack – is good for large or small, straight edged products, although also effective on odd shaped items. Easy and very quick to use and comes in a variety of widths to suit you packing needs. It’s a simple shrink-wrapping system using PVC, polypropylene or polyolefin shrink film, and an included heat gun that shrinks the film neatly and cleanly to the product. Ideal for Christmas hampers and prize give-aways, used widely in retail shops, and fresh food operations, to securely seal product, avoid damage, and maintain freshness.
Vacuum Sealers and Chambers – For vacuum packed fresh goods for Christmas from everything from small goods to roasted meats, try using a vacuum sealer or larger vacuum chambers. The VH329 vacuum Sealer is our entry level vacuum sealer.
VHIB Impulse Heat Sealers — The original and most popular heat sealer that seals items in polypropylene and polythene bags, tubing and stand up pouches. Can be used to seal and package a huge variety of bagged fresh produce and any bagged item really! These heat sealers are cost effective and very easy to use.
Band Sealers — The affordable bulk bag sealing solution for LDPE, PE, PP, PVC, cello and layered barrier bags, and is very popular to seal the tops of stand up pouches. With one compact machine you can set up your own packaging line. Simply feed the filled bags in at one end and they come out the other with their tops sealed. These types of machines are used broadly in food packaging, for everything from mixed lettuce leaves, to biscuits, chocolates and soups.
And we carry a broad supply of bags – magic seal, pouches, carry bags and poly bags to ensure your product looks good and travels well.
Packing or sealing products in an airless environment has long been an effective way to protect items and enhance shelf life. But most importantly vacuum sealing keeps good fresh.
So yes, vacuum sealing coffee is the best way to keep it fresh, but it must be in the right bag. The right bags are not simple poly bags; you must use vacuum bags.
Good quality vacuum bags are sealed on 3 sides and have multiple layers and satisfactory thickness to provide the maximum barrier to oxygen. It is this barrier to oxygen which will ultimately preserve the coffee and keep it fresh for longer. In addition, foil pouches or foil coated vacuum bags also keep the light out which goes further to protect the freshness of the coffee beans.
What is the best vacuum sealer?
When looking to purchase a new vacuum sealer or vacuum chamber you must consider the following questions:
- Am I using this in a home environment to help keep food fresher for longer?
- How many packages am I likely to do in a day?
- What is the size of the product I am going to vacuum pack?
- Should I use nitrogen flushing when sealing my products?
- How do I want my vacuum sealed product to look?
Am I using this in a home environment to help keep food fresher for longer?
If you are purchasing for home or domestic use, it is assumed that you will be vacuum sealing only a small number of packages daily or weekly. You will need a simple vacuum sealer. The domestic machines are a cost-effective entry level machine and will cover all the basic household needs, such as food storage improvement, through drawing the air directly out of the bag using the built-in pump. These are often known as ‘out of chamber’ vacuum sealers. Recent improvements in these machines means that they can increasingly handle more workload and faster speed. These machines are portable, compact and low on energy use.
How many packages am I likely to do in a day?
If you are packaging upward of 20 packages a day, up to about sixty, you would need to consider a larger out of chamber vacuum sealer. These vacuum sealers still sit on your benchtop and take up limited space, but they have a stronger motor, faster sealing times and generally more tough! If you are packaging upward of 100 packages a day you will need a commercial vacuum chamber.
What is the size of the product I am going to vacuum pack?
Most vacuum sealers and vacuum chambers offer flexibility in package size. So you can use the same vacuum sealer or vacuum chamber to pack a range of different sized products, and simply adjust the bag size to make it work. It is important to check the maximum dimensions of product that the vacuum sealer or vacuum chamber can take.
Do I need to use nitrogen flushing when vacuum sealing my products?
Packaging or sealing products in an airless environment has long been an effective way to protect items or enhance shelf life. The key to this longer shelf-life is removing the oxygen from the packaging as exposure to oxygen causes foods to deteriorate. In order to remove the oxygen you can remove all the air from the bag during the vacuum sealing process, or alternatively fill the bag with nitrogen when sealing.
If you are sealing sturdy products such as meats and cheeses, vacuum sealing works well as the product is robust enough the withstand all the oxygen being removed from the packaging. For more delicate foods where vacuum sealing the bag may cause the product to be crushed, nitrogen can be flushed in to replace the oxygen, meaning the product in the bag is protected (as the bag is more full) plus the likelihood of food spoiling is significantly reduced as the oxygen has been removed.
How do I want my vacuum sealed product to look?
If you are selling your vacuum sealed product in a retail sales situation you should consider if you need the bag to stand up, or hang on a display stand. If so a stand up pouch is the best option. Vacuum bags are the other option to use with a vacuum chamber and they are particularly easy to transport, but not so good for display purposes.
Venus Packaging, a leader in the flexible packaging industry in Australia is celebrating 60 years in business in 2019. Here, they provide a comprehensive analysis of vacuum packaging and how it might be good for your business.
Why vacuum pack?
Packaging or sealing products in an airless environment has long been an effective way to protect items or enhance shelf life.
Exposure to air aids the growth of bacteria in most foods. Sealing the food in a bag from which the air has been removed greatly inhibits bacterial growth. Food stays fresh longer and retains it’s flavour, nutritional value and sales appeal.
Which type of machine is right for you?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of machines: the domestic vacuum sealer and the commercial vacuum chamber.
The domestic machines (VH329 model pictured) are a cost-effective entry level machine and will cover all the basic household needs, such as food storage improvement, through drawing the air directly out of the bag using the built-in pump. These are often known as ‘out of chamber’ vacuum sealers and recent improvements in these machines means that they can increasingly handle more work load and faster speed. These machines are portable, compact and low on energy use.
The ‘commercial’ vacuum chambers (VH153V Vertical vacuum chamber pictured) are capable of higher output and many package multiple packages in one vacuum sealing cycle. With these machines, the product is bagged, placed inside the chamber and air extracted from the chamber and bag. These machines work fast and if used with the right vacuum bag provide a strong, tamper proof seal offering a professional finish for retail display. There are a range of these machines suitable for different packing needs, including double vacuum chambers, single chambers and stand up vacuum chambers for sealing liquids.
Which foods can be vacuum packed?
Any food can be vacuum packed, from raw meat to soups, but the unique characteristics if each food must be considered. For example a strong vacuum might crush delicate foods such as berries.
How long do vacuum packed foods last?
Some foods will last up to 5 times longer than without vacuum packing. But it depends on the type of food and its quality before packing. It is important to remember that foods that normally need to be kept cool to prevent spoilage still need to be refrigerated or frozen as usual.
What about vacuum bags?
The second part of the equation is the vacuum bags themselves. Not all vacuum bags are created equal! Type is important but so is quality. These bags are not simply a poly bag. Acceptable quality bags should be sealed on 3 sides and need to have multiple layers, (including nylon), and satisfactory micron thickness to provide the maximum barrier to oxygen which will preserve the packed item.
One must also be sure to use the correct bag variant. Due to the method of pumping the air out of bags, the domestic (‘out of chamber’) machines must always use bags that have specially designed channels in the plastic film. These channels give an unrestricted pathway for the air to flow out, and allows wrinkle free packaging. The vacuum bags for the commercial vacuum chamber machines are flat and smooth and present the packages item very professionally, for example, meat, fish, and small good. Whilst the commercial vacuum chambers are somewhat more expensive than the domestic, there are considerable savings to be found using the flat bags which should be considered when making your initial purchase.
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