For decades vacuum sealing food using a vacuum chamber has meant that all types of fresh produce businesses have been able to safely store, use, or sell their fresh foods for longer. Essentially, vacuum sealing food prolongs it’s shelf life.
What food can I seal in a vacuum chamber?
The most popular foods that are vacuum sealed these days are hard cheese, poultry, small goods, liquid products such as soups and curries, fish, red meat, breads and wraps, and ready-made foods such as pizza and lasagne. Vacuum sealing is also extensively used in food preparation settings such as food processors and back of house in restaurants. This allows the purchase and storing of bulk food, and that saves money!
Are there any foods that should not be sealed in a vacuum chamber?
Most foods can be placed in a vacuum bag and sealed in a vacuum sealer. However, it pays to consider how ‘fragile’ your fresh produce is. For example, vacuum sealing potato chips, biscuits or meringues, would result in your product being crushed. And other foods such as soft cheeses, bananas and mushrooms don’t benefit, in terms of their shelf life, from being vacuum packed.
Are there other benefits other than increased shelf life of vacuum sealing my fresh produce?
Professional presentation of your food to your customers is another big advantage of vacuum sealing. Fresh produce that has been properly vacuum packed is attractive to prospective customers. There are two reasons for this, one, they feel it will last longer (which it will) than if it was sitting in a delicatessen window; and secondly, the presentation itself makes that food look fresh, attractive and unhandled, when it is already vacuumed packed by the time the customer comes to buy it.
Will using a vacuum chamber actually save my business money?
Vacuum sealing fresh produce results in less spoiled food, less damaged stock, and offers an increased shelf life, which all save a business money. And equally as important, vacuum sealing product in advance of it’s sale can save you time. And as we know time in money!
Top 3 uses for Cloth Tape
Venhart Cloth Tape is a durable, strong, water resistant and a highly adhesive tape, whilst still being hand tearable. Cloth Tape is available in both polythene coated polyester/cotton and polythene coated rayon, with either a natural rubber adhesive or rubber solvent adhesive. Top 3 uses for cloth tape:
- Widely used in theatre, film production and staging work, such as concerts and performances, for cable management. Used to secure cables and leads for safety precautions, attaching props and other equipment for festivals and live entertainment.
- Industrial activities such as paint and sand blasting where cloth tape is used to cover the areas that do not require stripping or blasting. Venhart Cloth Tape is strong enough to adhere throughout extended industrial treatment and protects welds and seems and other areas that need to be preserved.
- Universally used in book binding, to strengthen and maintain the integrity of printed books and other printed materials.
With increased demand across Australia for pre-made home delivered food in recent months we’ve had an upsurge in questions from customers about how to best package ready-made meals for retail sale and home delivery.
By far the two most popular methods of packaging ready-made meals for sale is vacuum sealing and band sealing stand up pouches.
Vacuum sealing is good for take-home meals such as lasagnes, pizzas and pizza bases, curries, cooked vegetables and frozen dumplings. Vacuum sealers come in large and small sizes. They are generally used with vacuum bags and assist in aiding shelf life of fresh cooked food and produce by between 4 and 7 days. For restaurants and cafes that are now cooking main meals and offering take-away and delivery to customers, vacuum sealing has made life much more convenient. The benefits of vacuum sealing are:
- Products are pre-prepared before ‘rush hour’
- Portion control is managed
- Shelf-life is maintained
- Meals can be frozen in the vacuum bag before or after sale
- Professional looking finished product.
- Cooked meals in stand up pouches can be labelled and branded.
For products such as curries, soups, meatballs, noodles, rice dishes, dry pasta, and pre-made desserts, stand up pouches sealed with a band sealer is a good option for take-away packaging. A vertical band sealer makes packaging take home food quick and easy. Benefits of stand up pouches sealed with a band sealer are:
- Professional and hygienic presentation
- Pouches are easy to fill with freshly cooked meals
- Quick and mess-free sealing using a band sealer
- Food can be frozen before or after sales in stand up pouches
- Different sized portions are possible due to different sized pouches.
- Easy to store and transport
- Can be professionally labelled and branded
Contact us now on (03) 9428-1652 and we can customise the right packaging solution for your take-home meals, we cater for all businesses and budgets.
Whether you are vacuum sealing your produce for commercial reasons or simply sealing your leftovers at home there are numerous benefits to owning a vacuum sealing machine. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of vacuum sealers and which one is right for you.
Benefits Of Vacuum Sealing Produce
Owning a vacuum sealer at home will save you time as you can cook large helpings of food, divide the leftovers and seal them for storage in the freezer to pull out at a later date.
It will also save you money as you can purchase bulk portions of produce, such as meat, which you can divide, vacuum seal and store in the freezer. By doing this, you will be reaping the massive cost savings of buying smaller portions of meat more regularly. You will also have fresh, perfect sized servings of produce at your disposal as you need them.
If you’re looking to preserve your food for longer, then vacuum sealing is the perfect solution. By cutting off the food’s access to oxygen, you will be preventing the growth of bacteria or mould that cause food to spoil. Vacuum sealed food has an increased shelf life (3-5 times longer than a standard plastic container or plastic bag) and lasts longer when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Frozen food that’s vacuum sealed can last up to 2-3 years and up to 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator, which is substantially longer than if it weren’t vacuum sealed.
This is also beneficial for commercial use, as produce that is vacuum sealed and packed away for shipping to stores and customers will last far longer than unpackaged produce.
Commercial Vacuum Sealers VS Domestic Vacuum Sealing Machines
Convinced you need a vacuum sealer? Great! Now you just need to decide which model you need. The type of vacuum sealer machine you need will depend on your intended use – domestic, commercial, or perhaps something in between. Each vacuum sealing machine comes with different features and benefits, below we will discuss some of the strengths of both domestic and commercial machines.
Domestic Vacuum Sealer
Domestic models are less powerful than their larger, industrial counterparts, and require channelled or embossed vacuum bags which assist the machine to draw the air out of the bag prior to sealing. However, this is made up for by the capacity to be easily transported and used at home. The smaller size of the domestic vacuum sealer models also makes them easy to store at home.
Food preservation and storage is made easier, as the size of stored food is reduced and preservation time is extended.
Some smaller models are also available for medium-level commercial use.
Commercial Vacuum Sealer
The larger, industrial, ‘in-chamber’ vacuum sealer machines can use either channelled or flat vacuum bags as they are more powerful.
As the machines are large in size, their ability to be stored and transported is made a little more difficult, but not impossible. However, this is a worthy trade-off as they are capable of sealing more items in one cycle than a smaller model, boosting production efficiency and proving more beneficial in a commercial capacity.
As the commercial vacuum chambers and sealing machines are larger, they also have the ability to seal bulkier items or stand up pouches of powder or liquid. Some models also allow gas flush for preservatives and other gases to be flushed into the bag for better preservation of certain food items. This is beneficial for food preservation methods and providing a professional presentation of produce for retailers.
How A Pallet Wrapper Can Decrease Potential Health And Safety Issues
If your business is in any way involved in the distribution of product around Australia or the world, you will probably, at some point, have considered the use of an automated pallet wrapper.
From a health safety perspective, introducing a pallet wrapper, into your dispatch operations has the following immediate benefits:
- The stability and high holding force that the stretch film creates offers a much safer wrapped pallet, which is far less likely to fall over and cause injury or road accidents during transit
- The application of the pallet film is undertaken by the pallet wrapping machine, hence significantly reducing the likelihood of sprains and strains of your staff members than if using manual wrapping techniques
- Goods wrapped and transported within warehouses on pallets reduces the likelihood of injuries through lifting individual items or cartons, as good are moved around as a secure palletized load.
Further, the use of a pallet wrapping machine using stretch wrap offers more advantages, including:
- It’s the most cost effective method of keeping cartons together in one shipment
- The product, if using transparent pallet stretch film, is easily identifiable
- Shipments are protected from the elements, such as rain and sun, and product arrives in a protected, untampered state
- It can lead to highly efficient warehouse operations, as goods can be wrapped as soon as they are produced / picked and are ready to ship almost immediately; the average time to wrap a fully loaded pallet would be around 30 seconds
- From a marketing perspective, the wrapped product is professional looking and able to be branded
We have a fully trained service team based in Melbourne, Australia, who are available on the phone and in person to attend to any service query or maintenance issue you may have with your pallet wrapping machine.
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 band sealer 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.
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.
As an exhibitor in the upcoming AUSPACK 2019 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, we were recently featured on the AUSPACK website.
We are excited to be exhibiting at the AUSPACK 2019 Expo in March at the Exhibition and Convention Centre in Melbourne, March 26 – 29th. Stand F020.
We will have many of our machines on display there, from entry level, through to fully automated packaging machinery. What may be of particular interest to our customers is the opportunity to test out these machines with your products. Our experienced technical and sales teams will be on hand to assist with finding the right packaging solution for your product.
Signs Publishing, a publishing house based in Warburton Victoria, is a long-term customer of ours, and have been in business since 1885.
Signs Publishing, print and distribute publications to customers around Australia including books, magazines and flyers.
The team at Signs has purchased several pieces of Venus Packaging machinery in recent years to improve their packing and dispatch processes. (more…)