Nitrogen in Food Packaging: A PSA Guide

4 min read
Nitrogen in Food Packaging: A PSA Guide

Nitrogen in Food Packaging: A PSA Guide

In packaging food, freshness and a longer shelf life of food are the two important factors. The use of nitrogen in food packaging is one of the most effective ways of slowing food deterioration and improving longevity. In this blog, we’ll explore the role PSA nitrogen generator in food packaging, delve into the process of PSA, and discuss its applications across various products, alongside practical considerations such as percentage purity, ROI calculations, and useful reference links.

Understanding Nitrogen Purity

Nitrogen purity is the percentage of nitrogen molecules that are present in a gas mixture. For food packaging, nitrogen with high purity levels (more than 99.  9%) is preferred to minimize the presence of oxygen, moisture and other impurities inside the package so that the product can remain fresh.

The PSA Process: A Brief Overview

Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) is the most used technology for nitrogen production in industrial applications. The process includes the selective adsorption of oxygen, moisture, and other impurities from compressed air.  Thus, the stream of the high-purity nitrogen gas (99.9% purity rate) is produced. PSA systems use several adsorption vessels that are packed with a specific adsorbent, for example, carbon molecular sieves or zeolites, which adsorb oxygen and other impurities and let the nitrogen through.

What Is Nitrogen Packaging?

Nitrogen packing requires the use of high concentrations of gaseous nitrogen within food packaging. Nitrogen at 99.0% concentration is usually recommended for food preservation. Other chemical conditions that contribute to effective nitrogen packaging are:

Oxygen concentration should be maintained under 1%

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide concentrations in the air mixture below 10ppm and 300ppm respectively.

Moisture concentrations should remain below 55.8ppm

Applications Across Food Products

Nitrogen gas, generated through PSA technology, finds applications across a wide range and Nitrogen Generator for food industry of foods products, including:

Snack Foods: Oxygen-free packaging solution is used in snacks such as chips, nuts, and pretzels to keep them fresh and crispy by blocking oxygen and therefore oxidative degradation.
Fresh Produce: Modifying the Atmosphere, which is a gas with nitrogen, can preserve fresh fruits and vegetables for a longer time by preventing microbial growth and slowing down the ripening process.
Dairy Products: Nitrogen flushing is one of the most common packaging methods in dairy production, e.g., cheese and yogurt, to produce a protective atmosphere that is a barrier against spoilage and ensures product quality.
Beverages: In the soft drink industry, nitrogen is used to make the drinks pressurized and preserved and to create nitrogen-infused drinks like nitro coffee and beer.

Calculating ROI: Making the Business Case

Implementing a nitrogen generation system using PSA technology requires an initial investment, but the long-term benefits can yield a significant return on investment (ROI). To calculate ROI, consider factors such as reduced product spoilage, extended shelf life, and decreased packaging waste. By quantifying these benefits and comparing them to the upfront costs of equipment and installation, businesses can make informed decisions about the viability of nitrogen packaging solutions.

Reference Links for Further Exploration

For those interested in diving deeper into the world of nitrogen in food packaging and PSA technology, here are some useful reference links:

Effect of Nitrogen Gas Packaging on the Quality and Microbial Growth of Fresh-Cut Vegetables under Low Temperatures


Introduction to Pressure Swing Adsorption


Nitrogen Usage and Nitrogen Generation


Through utilizing the nitrogen gas and PSA technology, food manufacturers and packagers can gain more control over the product quality, reduce waste, and ultimately, produce fresher, longer-lasting products on the global market. Through a clear sense of nitrogen purity, the PSA process, practical applications, ROI considerations, and access to invaluable reference materials, businesses can go into the process of improving their food packaging with confidence and precision.

Absstem Technologies has an On-Site PSA Nitrogen Generator for Efficient Food Packaging

At Absstem Technologies, we are committed to providing our customers with the most efficient and cost-effective PSA nitrogen generation solutions for their unique industrial processes.

Our PSA nitrogen generators integrate state-of-the-art adsorption technologies, which makes them uniquely suited to a broad range of industrial applications including food and beverage manufacture. Contact us today to learn more about On-Site PSA Nitrogen Generators for Food Packaging.

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