How to extend shelf life – 4 packaging tips

So you want your sandwich to stay fresher for longer. Maybe you require one or two extra days
on the shelf? Or perhaps you need to extend your product’s life for a week or more?

Many food-to-go products in the UK have a shelf life of around three days. But today, two major
issues facing retailers and brand owners are reducing costs and waste.

And a great way to achieve both is by extending your product’s shelf life. But how do you go
about this? Read on to find out.

1. Modify the atmosphere inside your packaging

The most effective way to extend shelf life is by modifying the atmosphere inside your

Let air in and the bread dries out. Factor in the bacteria that breeds in oxygen, and you’ll have a
stale or rotting sandwich in no time.

Vacuuming the air out of the pack before hermetically sealing it – so that nothing gets back in –
can extend your product’s shelf life dramatically.

2. Ensure that your modified atmosphere (MA) packaging is sustainable

Historically, the only way to modify the atmosphere inside a sandwich pack was by using a
plastic wedge. However, the environmental cost of plastic packaging does not make this a
sustainable or appealing option.

That’s why we’ve designed the innovative Modified Atmosphere (MA) Carton Wedge.

Not only does it have a hermetic seal, which stops air from getting in, but the MA technology
removes over 99% of oxygen from inside the pack, allowing your product to stay fresher for
longer – up to 28 days and beyond with the right ingredients.

And it’s not just for sandwiches. We’ve recently extended our use of MA technology to
RapTray™, suitable for a wide range of ready meals, fruit, protein salads,
fresh meat and fish, cooked meats and more.

Despite their hi-tech credentials – they’re created using state-of-the-art manufacturing
equipment – the MA wedge and tray are made from sustainable carton board and film laminate.

As a result, they reduce the need for oil-based plastic by 80% compared to plastic skillets.

So now you need to determine how much extra time on the shelf you need.

3. For an extension of a week or more use MA technology

The MA wedge is particularly popular in Europe and the USA, where longer distances mean that
products are required to stay fresher for longer. For example, in Europe it can take up to 5 days
to get a product from production to the shelf.

So, if you have a longer supply chain or you’re looking to significantly increase time on the shelf,
the MA option could be the answer for you.

In the UK, where the distances between manufacturer and retailer are shorter, stock is generally
replenished regularly.

But what about if it’s just an extra day or two on the shelf you’re looking for?

4. For a 1 to 2 day extension hermetically seal your product

Imagine if you could extend the product of your shelf life by just one day, without compromising
on freshness.

Not only would you save time and money by not needing to make your product so often or use
so many ingredients, you’d also have an extra day in which to sell it, thereby reducing waste.

Hermetically sealing your product pack – without modifying the atmosphere inside – allows
you to do just this. The process takes less time than the MA option and requires only limited
modifications to existing machinery.

Increasingly, our customers are choosing to hermetically seal their products. It’s a cost-effective
alternative that protects food from contamination and seals in freshness.

Discover pioneering packaging for your future products

We’re always trying to take our technological advancements to the next level.

And we’re able to do this through constant research and investment in our design and
manufacturing departments.

Without giving too many secrets away, we’re currently developing new boards and films for
better barriers, and we’re constantly working to try to reduce the time and temperature required
to seal the pack.

Stick with us for the latest in packaging innovations!

Want more packaging advice? Read our blog post ‘Four features to look for when
improving your packaging’ or request a call back from one of our team.

Posted by Wai Lee, Rap Technical Support Specialist, Friday 22 August 2014

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RAP Shortlisted for UK Packaging Awards for Seventh Consecutive Year

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