When you think of fish packaging, the first thing that comes to mind are the tuna packaging cans you find at your local grocery store; but the packaging industry offers so much more when it comes to seafood packaging.
Packaging materials now provide longer shelf life and better product protection. Recently, the industry has begun to shift towards more sustainable options.
The following are the most common types of fish packaging (fresh or frozen products):
Fresh Fish Packaging
Because fresh fish has not been processed, it requires more layers. The first layer is to put ice in an insulated cooler because it regulates the temperature. Film liner should be next to catch any runoff or leaks from the cooler. Lastly, fish packaging boxes are used to protect the fish product as well as the other layers.
Paper sleeves for packaging fresh fish are also widely used in the industry. This is ideal for consumers who live near fish markets and do not need multiple layers of packaging. Additionally, it discourages the usage of single-use plastic bags, making it a greener choice.
In This Article:
Dried Fish Packaging
As the name implies, the packaging of dried fish needs materials that keeps the food product dry. Vacuum packaging is a popular option because it:
Keeps in all the flavours of the product;
Keeps out the moisture and other contaminants;
Helps contain the dried fish aroma inside the packaging.
Frozen Fish Packaging
Frozen fish packaging is the most common type you see in big supermarkets (i.e. frozen tuna packaging). This is because it is mass-produced and the best way to keep the fish as fresh as possible.
Either film or vacuum skin packaging is used for frozen goods because both prevent water loss and keep the fish from drying out, which could lead to the freshness of the products being contaminated.
Smoked Fish Packaging
Out of all fish products, smoked fish is probably the easiest to package since it has already undergone a cooking process. The majority of smoked fish is sold in retort stand-up pouches, which are the most popular packaging method, because they:
Maintain the quality, aroma, and flavour of the smoked fish;
Enable a longer shelf life;
Reduce transportation costs due to their flexibility and structure.
Fish Packaging Material Considerations - Ensuring Safety and Quality
Food packaging is one of the most regulated industries because it has a direct impact on our health. Here are some critical factors to consider when packaging fish and other seafood:
Temperature Control: The ideal temperature for packaged fish (except dried and smoked) is between 0℃ – 5℃ so the packaging needs to allow for these temperatures to be maintained.
Oxygen Levels: To extend the shelf life of fish products, one can vacuum seal it. This will ensure the removal of oxygen. The removal of oxygen during the vacuum packaging process prevents oxidation reactions and increases shelf-life.
Moisture Control: High barrier properties are required to maintain optimal moisture levels and for keeping light and heat out. This ensures the products within are protected, thus maintaining freshness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can modified atmosphere packaging be applied to packaging fish?
MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) is an innovation that involves controlling the atmosphere, such as humidity, nitrogen, and oxygen levels, inside the product packaging, in order to keep the product as fresh as possible. This type of innovation is perfect to use for fish packaging.
An example is gas flushing; it is a well-known MAP technique that pumps nitrogen into packaging to reduce oxygen, thereby delaying oxidation and the time it takes for the products to spoil.
Silica gel packets are another example of a packaging component that uses the MAP concept. These are desiccants that absorb any moisture that accumulates in the packaging.
Is the seafood packaging industry environmentally friendly?
The seafood industry is notorious for generating massive amounts of waste packaging, which contributes to global issues. Organizations and individuals alike have begun to promote better practices, culminating in what is known as sustainable seafood packaging
For the seafood industry to switch to more sustainable options, there are lots of implications that need to be considered. It is not simply about changing the packaging. It is also about changing the entire cycle of how seafood is sourced, processed and presented to end users. It considers the industry’s environmental, economic, and social impacts.
Have other seafood products that need high quality packaging solutions? Get in touch with OF Pack today!