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Why is Nitrogen Gas Used to Package Coffee?

A layer of coffee beans in a variety of brown shades of color

The food packaging and beverage production/distribution sectors are some of the largest markets around the globe. Providing people with safe, healthy, and fresh food and drink is vital for all communities. Nitrogen gas causes oxygen displacement, which is the most important step to this process.

Beverage manufacturers like coffee companies must prioritize the shelf life of their coffee beans for optimal freshness. Each cup of coffee is made with a variety of different brewing processes. The taste of coffee beans are the main consideration for how good the final product turns out.

To extend freshness and shelf life for long-term storage and extended shipping distances, coffee roasters and packagers use a process called Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). The use of nitrogen gas is the most common.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) machines such as vertical form fillers are equipped with injection nozzles that introduce food-grade nitrogen gas into each K-Cup® or bag as it’s filled. This creates a blanketing of the coffee with inert, high purity nitrogen. The injection of food-grade nitrogen and the removal of oxygen significantly slows down the process of decay overall. By inhibiting the process of oxidation, you can prevent the growth of microbes.

When food or beverages are exposed to oxygen, oxidation or food spoilage occurs. Environments that are rich in oxygen are breeding grounds for bacteria such as mildew and mold. Any amount of this will wreak havoc on food and beverage processors and packagers.

Coffee Production and Packaging

Let’s take coffee for example. Pre-ground, bagged coffee or K-Cup® pods can go stale quicky if left exposed to oxygen. Coffee bean oils weaken as they are subjected to oxygen, which make up the aroma we find so enjoyable when brewing a fresh cup of coffee.

Food and beverage companies can purchase Nitrogen gas used for MAP in cylinders or as a liquid in dewars or bulk tanks. These often must be stored at the processing/packaging facility with the safety issues associated with their storage and handling. This set-up ever possibility of running out of nitrogen gas in the middle of your production schedule and more expensive, long-term contracts with gas companies, and you quickly see that cylinders, dewars and tanks are not the most economical solution.

The best and most cost-effective option is to generate your own supply of nitrogen gas in-house using a nano nitrogen gas generator.

Benefits include:

1. Purities of up to 99.999%, typically use 99.95% for coffee packaging to ensure quicker ROI

2. Generate the nitrogen gas you need, only when you need it, at the purity you require

3. Food-grade nitrogen is generated in-house, so you never run out of nitrogen gas

4. Payback is typically between 6 to 24 months

5. Easy installation with minimum cost and no disruption

6. Guaranteed performance


As foods and beverages require different ratios of nitrogen, it is important to seek advice from our nitrogen gas generation experts.

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