Although we might not always realize it, vacuum plays a role in countless aspects of our everyday lives. In this series, we take a closer look at just how much we rely on vacuum, from the way we breathe to our bicycle helmets to life-saving medical procedures.

Vacuum food storage became popular during the 1940s as a way to dramatically extend the in-store shelf life of many food items. By some estimates, vacuum-stored food lasts around five times longer than simple refrigeration, according to Packaging Innovation. The innovation made possible economical, large scale preparation of foods for convenient purchase, even out of the normal growing season. When combined with other storage techniques, such as freezing and modified atmosphere packaging (replacing any residual oxygen with an atmospheric gas like nitrogen, for example), vacuum packaging can even be used for long-term storage as long as the packaging is protected from leaks.

“Food storage devices remove oxygen from vacuum seal bags.”

The website Ready Nutrition explains that, by removing oxygen from containers, stored foods are protected from freezer burn and the deterioration of foods is slowed substantially. The process is much simpler than canning, and the materials used are inexpensive, so the technique is not only effective, it is also economical. With vacuum food storage, restaurant chains and supermarkets can keep foods fresh longer and reduce waste. Individual consumers can enjoy the same benefits, along with the option of shopping for foods when they are on sale, with the confidence that the foods will be fresh when consumed. Emergency services, such as the Red Cross, can use vacuum packaging to store foods for times of natural disasters.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s interesting to note that the first commercial use of vacuum packaging for food was for whole turkeys in the 1950s. The many vacuum sealing systems now available for home use make this preservation technique perfect for all your holiday food storage needs.

At VACUUBRAND®, we are experts in vacuum for science. To learn more about our laboratory and OEM vacuum pumps, please visit our website. If you’d like details about our modular, energy-saving alternative to central vacuum systems for labs, our technology microsite offers an overview. Or simply contact us today about your lab vacuum needs.