Packaging Concepts for Fresh Meat: A Brief Overview

Mini Review

Austin Food Sci. 2016; 1(1): 1005.

Packaging Concepts for Fresh Meat: A Brief Overview

Schmid M1,2*, Saengerlaub S1,2 and Mueller K1,3

1Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Germany

2Chair of Food Packaging Technology, Technische Universität München, Germany

3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kempten University of Applied Science, Germany

*Corresponding author: Markus Schmid, Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Germany

Received: March 01, 2016; Accepted: March 20, 2016; Published: March 24, 2016


Fresh meat is a sensitive product. Consumers expect a minimum shelflife of 10 days. Therefore fresh meat has to be protected against deterioration. Measures to preserve the quality are the use of suitable packaging materials and the application of an adapted packaging process. Key selection criteria for the packaging materials are mechanical properties and barrier properties against gases - in particular against oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Keywords: Fresh meat; Packaging; Modified atmosphere packaging


MAP: Modified Atmosphere Packaging; PET: Polyethylene Terephthalate; EVOH: Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol; PP: Polypropylene; PE: Polyethylene


The amount of packaged fresh meat on sale in shops has significantly increased over recent years. Especially for sensitive food products such as fresh meat, it is important to optimally adapt the packaging system to the product contents in order to be able to offer consumers healthy and safe foods. For fresh meat there are different packaging concepts available. The aim of this mini review is to provide a brief overview about these different packaging concepts for fresh meat.

Effect of the Modified Atmosphere on Meat Quality

Key quality parameters for fresh meat are its color and microbiological status. The red color is caused by the myoglobin. It exists in three forms [1,2]:

Depending on the respective form of myoglobin the color changes as indicated (Figure 1). The brick-red color (of oxymyoglobin) is preferred by consumers. It is formed when the oxygen concentration is high. For this reason the headspace of the packaging with fresh meat is filled with a protective gas that contains a high oxygen concentration (40 to 70% v/v), as indicated in (Table 1). The process is called Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). The packaging material must have a sufficiently high gas barrier to reduce the loss of oxygen and carbon dioxide due to permeation into the environment.