How Vacuum Sealing Reduces Food Waste?
In 2021, Singapore generated approximately 817 thousand tonnes of food waste. Food waste accounts for one-tenth of Singapore’s total trash production. Around 19% of the food waste generated in that year was recycled.
The primary cause of food waste is that most consumables have a limited shelf-life. There are several ways to extend the shelf-life of fresh goods, and one method would be to use vacuum packaging. Simple household vacuum sealers and bags can significantly prolong food storage.
Food waste raises food prices because it increases demand, and with a little effort, Vacuum-sealing food items can help save time and money.
How can Vacuum Sealing reduce food waste?
Vacuum sealing creates a modified atmosphere within the package. For sealants intended for domestic use, the adjusted atmosphere contains less oxygen. Removing air with the vacuum sealer reduces the oxygen content of the box. Because of the lower oxygen level, fresh goods can be stored for extended periods. The shelf-life is significantly extended when combined with desiccants or oxygen absorbers.
Prevent freezer burns
Freezer-burned food might still be safe to consume, but the flavour will be affected, and it does not look appetising. Freezer burn can be avoided by vacuum sealing due to the limited air exposure; frozen food is not drained of moisture. Because of moisture loss, frozen food loses nutrients, flavour, and colour. When food is vacuum sealed, the bag is a barrier against the cold, zapping moisture content.
Using a vacuum sealer machine, one can purchase food in bulk and repackage it into smaller pieces. Food purchased in bulk saves money, and vacuum sealing is far more efficient than resealable bags. The food can then be stored longer and is often used in butcher shops and meat processing plants.
Food last longer
When frozen food is vacuum sealed, it can increase the shelf life of food to last longer. The average shelf-life of food when vacuum-sealed in a refrigerator is 1-2 weeks, substantially longer than the typical shelf life of food when stored traditionally in a fridge, which is 1-3 days. For example, beef can only be frozen for a few months before freezer burn occurs, and vacuum-sealing bags can significantly extend the shelf life of meat.
Preserves food and snacks
To achieve an airtight vacuum seal, vacuum sealing eliminates oxygen from the packaging. Any moist or dry food, including seafood, meats, vegetables, and cereals, can be vacuum sealed. Vacuum sealing helps to stop the development and buildup of bacteria and other microbes like mould or fungus, and oxygen is also reduced. When consumed, germs can cause significant illness and destroy food’s appearance and flavour. Users can deprive food of the oxygen such germs require to develop when you vacuum seal it. As a result, food remains fresher for longer.
On special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, leftovers may be plentiful. Vacuum-seal bits to make a quick ready-to-eat meal. According to a 2018 Yahoo Finance article, families spend an average of $150 on Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners. Many larger families spend significantly more depending on the size and number of visitors. Saving 20–30% without wasting food can cover the cost of a vacuum sealer and bags.
Store seasonal items
One of the best uses for vacuum sealers is to save seasonal foods like berries, tomatoes, and other vegetables for out-of-season times of the year.
Through internal testing (refer to the picture below) done by the Greek Cold Storage & Logistics Association, they have successfully kept frozen zucchini, peas, and squash for over a year. For home gardeners, the capacity to support locally grown food for longer is ideal.
Other ways to reduce food waste
Limit food waste in other ways other than vacuum-sealing food. Here below are some methods:
- Before going grocery shopping, make a thorough list of everything required. It is usually a good idea to calculate the purchase amounts before shopping—select products that can be repackaged and stored without losing quality.
- Use proper food storage, particularly for items in the pantry. For bulk purchases, use older products first to avoid expiration. The first-in-first-out principle, when applied correctly, will help to prevent wastage. If the item is stored for a long, ensure the container is sealed completely to prevent air and pests from entering.
- Consider labelling food with the date as well as the item.
Are you using Vacuum Sealing bags at home?
Consider vacuum-sealing to keep food fresh, reduce waste, and extend the shelf life of your food. Look out for textured rolls or bags when shopping for vacuum-sealing bags. The textures in the bag allow air to pass through the bags while vacuuming quickly. Any textureless bag purchase cannot be used with a vacuum sealing machine.
The benefits of vacuum sealing your food go beyond saving money and time but also the environment by reducing waste. Let us all do our part!