Adding value to agricultural produce through the use of vacuum packaging technology

A one day workshop on Value addition through use of vacuum packaging technology was recently held at the UASD Agriculture Education Extension Centre Gadag.

The event was organized jointly by Department of Horticulture Gadag, University of Agricultural Sciences Dharward (UASD), and DEAL Foundation.

The aim of the workshop was to increase awareness of the need for vacuum packaging of relevant agricultural and horticulture products and create and increase access to facilities with appropriate technologies across Gadag District.

Vacuum packaging involves the evacuation of air from the packs prior to sealing. This method involves removal of oxygen by pulling the packaging material into intimate contact with the product. This extends the shelf life of any fresh perishable product by 3-5 times.

Benefits:

  • Increased shelf life: Vacuum packaging can increase a products shelf-life from 50% to 400%. The key to increasing the product’s shelf life is determining the ideal atmosphere within the packaging. This could mean introducing an inert gas or reduction of oxygen to ideal levels.
  • Reduced product loss: Increased shelf life means reduction in product loss for companies inventorying products.
  • Protection from external elements: Vacuum packaging protects products from moisture, dust, insects and a variety of external elements that may damage or harm the products. It also serves as protection from freezer burn during long term freezer storage.
  • Seals-in flavor: Vacuum packaging provides a barrier that prevents any of the flavor and juices from leaving the bag hence sealing in all the flavours of the food products.
  • No other chemical preservatives required: This eliminates the need for chemical preservatives while storing food products.
  • Safety: This helps prevent cross-contamination and also keeps food products with less discoloration or odor
  • Helps maintain natural moisture: Vacuum packaging eliminates air hence keeping the food moist.
  • Multiple packaging options: Users can buy rolls of film or choose to buy vacuum bags which are available with re-closable zippers, easy to open tear notches, foil-lined etc.
  • Quick and efficient packaging: With proper machines, vacuum sealing can be a quick and efficient process enabling thousands of products to be sealed within an hour.

As part of its work on creating sustainable livelihoods, DEAL Foundation is working to explore how vacuum packaging technology could be introduced across households of people with disabilities from farming backgrounds both in order to add value to farm produce and generate additional source of employment through community based vacuum packaging centers.

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