The packaging is a scientific method of enclosing food products and provides protection, tampering resistance against physical, chemical, or biological damage. Moreover, packaging also makes a product attractive.

Why is there a need for Packaging?

  • Packaging preserves the perishable product (product whose shelf life is 1-2 days) for a longer time.
  • Protecting the product from microbiology spoilage.
  • Packaging preserves the quality and safety of products from manufacturing to the time consumers use it.
  • It helps in increasing the Shelf life of the product.
  • Besides protection, it also enhances the marketability of the product.

Packaging poultry meat and poultry products have always been challenging because of their perishable nature and spoilage caused by pathogens. To extend shelf life, preservation technologies like vacuum packaging or modified atmosphere packaging used in the poultry industry. Factors depending on these technologies include cost and the volume of product being handled.

Different Methods of Packaging that are used in Poultry:

Vacuum Packaging

Vacuum packaging refers to packaging where all the air removed before sealing the packages. It may increase the shelf life of products from 16 to 23 days.
For example, Poultry carcasses, cuts, and other manufactured products are packed vacuum packaging.

Advantages of using vacuum packaging:

  • Maintain the colour of poultry meat.
  • Preventing microbiology spoilage.
  • Checks the texture and lipid oxidation in products.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

The use of modified atmosphere packaging for meat and poultry products has grown in recent years. MAP has become more available as manufacturers have attempted to meet consumer demands for fresh refrigerated foods with extended shelf life.
The principle behind this method is the replacement of air in the package with different gas mixtures.
According to studies, a mixture of 60% nitrogen and 40% carbon dioxide is ideal for the MAP of chicken meat.

Controlled Atmosphere Packaging (CAP)

In a controlled atmosphere packaging gases are added or removed to maintain the desired equilibrium inside a package.
CAP is the most efficient method of serving egg quality at room temperature for a period of 7 weeks.

Active and Intelligent Packaging

Packaging is a modern method consisting of a group of techniques in which a package is actively involved with food products or acts with an internal atmosphere in a package to increase the shelf life without disturbing product quality.

Active Packaging scavengers

This method is used to absorb, remove, or eliminate substances like oxygen, moisture, and ethylene from inside the food package.
The use of oxygen scavengers has a great advantage on the poultry products packaging.

Packaging indicators

Various indicators are used, that is, indicators for temperature, microbial spoilage, package integrity etc that give the information on the quality of the food and as well as on the storage conditions of the package. Some indicators do not need to interact with the product, while others do.
These indicators are called intelligent packaging and, hence their use is increasing day by day.

Biopolymers

Biopolymer packaging is used to reduce the amount of synthetic polymer waste.
Advantages of using biopolymers for packaging include: It acts as a carrier to deliver shelf life extenders such as antioxidants.

Overwrap

Whole dressed birds, halves or cuts are overwrapped with plastic films such as polyethylene, polypropylene or nylon-6.
Polyethylene is the most widely used packaging material in India because of its low cost and easy availability.


Trays with overwrap-

Broilers, roasted chicken or even cut parts can be placed in a polystyrene foam tray over-wrapped with transparent plastic film.
Wrapping increases the shelf life of chicken for 7 days at 4°C in the refrigerator.

Conclusion

Packaging plays an important role in preserving the product’s quality and protects from microbiology spoilage or any damage due to physical, chemical or biological hazards.
The need to package poultry meat and poultry products is not only for transportation and storage but also for consumer demands.