Modified- and controlled-atmosphere packaging (MAP/CAP) involves altering the composition of the space inside a package to boost the shelf life. This typically includes lowering the amount of oxygen and replacing with nitrogen (an inert gas), carbon dioxide (which can inhibit bacterial growth) or carbon monoxide (preserves the red color of meat).
An interest in increasing shelf life of packaged food has pushed the increase for MAP and CAP products. Sales of such products is expected to hit $10.8bn USD in 2013.
Developed countries are seeing the slowest growth, approaching saturation. Emerging economies, experiencing a growing demand in nearly all areas of the packaged goods market, are seeing the strongest rate of increased demand.
A significant number of food brand owners harness MAP and CAP in their packaging, including Kraft, Del Monte, Unilever and Target. Suppliers specializing in MAP and CAP technologies include GEA, HayssenSandiacre, LINPAC, Multisorb and Curwood.