What is Modified Atmosphere Packaging?

No preservatives.Fresh & Organic.A Longer Shelf Life.

This is the magical charm of modified atmosphere packaging.

If you are looking for a better way to package your perishable and easily spoiled products. If you’re in search of a packaging method that can maintain the colour, and taste, and extend the shelf life of food.

Perhaps you can start exploring MAP technology, it may be able to provide you with the answers you seek.

MAP is a completely new packaging technology. Up to now, you might know very little about it or even nothing at all. This article can give you a comprehensive understanding of modified atmosphere packaging technology.

Continue reading to delve deeper into MAP and let it bring the greatest value to your production.

What is modified atmosphere packaging?

The definition of MAP in food science journals is more professional and rigorous, as follows:

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) can be defined as the enclosure of food in a package in which the atmosphere inside the package is modified or altered to provide an optimum atmosphere for increasing shelf life and maintaining food quality.

Simply put, we can understand MAP as a packaging preservation technology. It can extend the shelf life of perishable foods and maintain their quality by altering the composition of gases inside the packaging.

The main purpose of MAP is to slow down the spoilage process of food, thereby prolonging its freshness, colour, texture, and nutritional value, without the need for preservatives or chemicals. By reducing the oxygen content and adjusting the levels of other gases inside the packaging, the growth of aerobic organisms and the rate of oxidation processes can be significantly reduced.

What are the types of modified atmosphere packaging?

There are several types of MAP, each designed to cater to different types of food products and preservation needs:

Passive Modified Atmosphere Packaging

This method involves changing the atmosphere inside the package naturally, without the introduction of gases. As the product respires, it consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide, naturally altering the internal atmosphere.

The packaging material’s selective permeability allows gases to exchange with the outside air to maintain an equilibrium.

Active Modified Atmosphere Packaging

This method involves actively replacing the air inside the packaging with a gas or mixture of gases. The most commonly used gases are nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), and carbon dioxide (CO2).

The specific mix depends on the product’s requirements. Active MAP can help maintain product quality by slowing down the growth of aerobic organisms and the speed of oxidation reactions.

What are the gas components of modified atmosphere packaging?

The gas composition used in MAP is selected based on the properties of the food. The main gases used are:


Nitrogen is often used to displace oxygen in packaging. It is an inert gas that can reduce the oxidation rate of food and is particularly suitable for packaging fragile products such as nuts and potato chips.

Carbon Dioxide(CO2)

It is essential for controlling microbial growth. Filling the packaging with carbon dioxide can effectively inhibit the growth of aerobic bacteria and mould, and is often used for MAP of meat, poultry, and seafood.

In addition, it can also be absorbed by products to create a vacuum packaging effect.


An appropriate amount of oxygen can make the colour of fresh meat and agricultural products more beautiful, so oxygen is selectively used in MAP.
So, what is the proportion of gas packaging for different foods? Please read the form carefully.

Compared to vacuum skin packaging and other packaging methods, what are the advantages of MAP?

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) offers several advantages over vacuum skin packaging (VSP) and other packaging methods.

Longer shelf life

MAP extends the shelf life of perishable food products more effectively than many other methods.

Better Product Quality

Compared with vacuum packaging, MAP can better maintain the appearance, colour and taste of food.

Fewer Preservatives

MAP can inhibit spoilage by changing the gas environment, thereby reducing the need for chemical preservatives, which appeals to consumers looking for cleaner labels and more natural products.

The application range is wider

MAP can be used on various products, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, baked goods and ready-to-eat meals. Vacuum skin packaging applications are generally more limited, usually for meat and seafood.

What are the disadvantages of modified atmosphere packaging?

While MAP offers many advantages, particularly in terms of extending shelf life and maintaining food quality, there are also some disadvantages and challenges associated with its use:

Initial Cost and Equipment

Setup of a MAP requires specialized equipment for gas flushing, sealing, and sometimes gas composition. Additionally, gas costs and equipment maintenance add to operating expenses.

Limited effectiveness on certain products

MAP is not universally effective on all types of foods. Its effectiveness may vary depending on the nature of the product, its sensitivity to oxygen, and its breathing rate.

Controlled Atmosphere Gas Ratios are Complex

Finding the right gas ratio composition is critical to the success of MAP, but it can be complex. The optimal gas composition of different foods varies significantly and requires thorough research and testing. This can be time-consuming and costly.

Packaging Integrity Issues

The effectiveness of MAP is highly dependent on the integrity of packaging materials and seals. Any leakage or damage in the packaging will compromise the controlled atmosphere, leading to rapid spoilage and waste. This requires high-quality packaging materials and equipment, increasing costs.

The application range of MAP

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) has a wide range of applications, especially in the food industry. Here are some key areas of application for MAP:


Fresh Agricultural Products

  • Fruits and Vegetables: MAP helps maintain the freshness, texture, and colour of fresh fruits and vegetables by slowing down the respiration rate and delaying ripening and decay.
  • Salads and Fresh-cut Produce: For pre-cut and ready-to-eat vegetables and salads, MAP is crucial for extending shelf life while maintaining nutritional quality and freshness.

Meat and Poultry

  • Red Meat: Using MAP in red meat helps retain the meat’s redness and reduces the growth of spoilage microorganisms.
  • Poultry: For poultry, MAP helps prevent discolouration, reduce spoilage, and extend shelf life.


MAP effectively maintains the odour of seafood, extending the shelf life of fresh and frozen seafood products.

Dairy Products

  • Cheese: MAP can prevent mould growth on cheese, maintaining its texture and flavour.
  • Milk Powder and Dairy Desserts: MAP can reduce the risk of oxidation and spoilage in milk powder and dairy desserts.

Bakery and Confectionery

  • Bread and Pastries: MAP extends the shelf life of bread, cakes, and pastries by reducing the growth of mould and bacteria.
  • Snacks and Candies: For snacks and candies, MAP helps maintain their crispness and prevent fat oxidation.

Ready-to-Eat and Prepared Foods

MAP is crucial for prepared meals and ready-to-eat foods, helping to maintain the quality, taste, and nutritional value of meals over time, making them more convenient for consumers.

Coffee and Tea

Packaging coffee beans and tea leaves in MAP can preserve their aroma and flavour by preventing the oxidation process.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging Examples: The production process of MAP for fresh meat

Submit your requirement: Need a modified atmosphere packaging machine?

In summary, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a preservation technology that effectively extends the shelf life of food products. An advanced MAP machine can give your food business a competitive edge.

We are MAP packaging machine manufacturers from China, offering comprehensive MAP packaging solutions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with us.


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