Concerning the preservation of spices and powders, spoilage is not a concern so much as loss of quality over time. Color, aroma and flavor are key in the preservation of spices and powders, that they will retain their commercial value.
Air, moisture and sunlight can slowly degrade the quality of the goods and can even lead to aflatoxin development.
Spices and dried herbs are agricultural commodities that can be fruit or seed-based (such as paprika), bark or flower based (such as cinnamon), root or rhizomes based (such as turmeric and ginger), and leaf based (such as oregano). Spices and dried herbs are normally classified as low-moisture foods (LMFs). Low-moisture foods are defined as food items that have water activity (aW) of less than 0.85. This is by design advantageous to preservation, but in recent years, there has been an increased number of recalls for dried herbs and spices due to contamination by pathogens.
In the preservation of spices and powders, it is critical to control moisture, and the VacQPack system’s flexible packaging solution can serve that purpose. With the hygroscopic nature of spices and herbs, there is a high chance of lumping, if vacuum is wrongly applied.
VacQPack uses an Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) gas barrier with very low oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR). It’s watertight to avoid lumping and fermentation and gas-tight to maintain original aroma and flavors. The VacQPack system offers traceability and sustainability when applying its organically compliant treatment on such high valued commodities. It also offers shelf life extension and a packaging solution that can be opened and sealed multiple times.
The main challenge of applying vacuum (low pressure) and a controlled atmosphere (CA) on spices and powders is the high density of the product. For that reason, the VacQPack valve is enriched with an internal filter, whose material is approved to be in direct contact with food. This filter will work as an aid in the vacuum process, so that the product is not simply aspirated, due to its high density and small proportions.
The VackQPack system is also designed to be regulated in order to better package products of high density. By experience, VacQPack knows that vacuum and flushes get harder, the higher is the density of the product, so the pressure levels are adjusted and are programable by the software, and the user can jump from one commodity to another just by choosing the preprogramed plan.