If you are into food processing or manufacturing, or in the restaurant business, one piece of equipment that would be of practical use to you would be a food sealer. Vacuum food sealers are known to be very useful for food storage purposes as compared to regular plastic containers as they are better at preventing food spoilage. Vacuum food sealers eliminate oxygen from the plastic bag containers upon sealing. The absence of oxygen serves as a deterrent for microbial growth, thus allowing food to be stored for months.
There are many available commercial vacuum sealers in the market these days to choose from. They do come in different types. Our choice really depends on how you plan to use the sealer and which type of sealer will best suit your needs.
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TYPES OF COMMERCIAL VACUUM SEALERS
There are basically two kinds of commercial vacuum sealers available for use. Thee are either chamber vacuum sealers or external vacuum sealers. Each type will have a specific use depending on how you plan to use it.
Chamber Vacuum Sealers
These types of vacuum sealers have sealing mechanisms that are built within the machine. They come with a lid as well. To operate this, you simply have to put a plastic bag in the machine, shut the lid and wait for the bag to be sealed. Optional settings for dry sealing, moist sealing, etc., may e found in some models and brands.
Chamber vacuum sealers are known to be quite convenient if you plan to use these in situations where food is produced or manufactured at high volumes. Food sealing is done quickly using chamber vacuum sealers and the bags are even double sealed!
External Vacuum Sealers
Most external vacuum sealers are made to operate manually as compared to chamber vacuum sealers. These may be of two types: nozzle sealers and clamp sealers.
Clamp sealers mae use of specially-designed bags that have air channels. A clamp is located on one side of the bag. This side is then connected to an air channel which is used to remove the oxygen from the bag.
Nozzle sealers make use of a tube similar to a snorkel that is inserted into especially made bags. The “sorkel”p is then used to eliminate air from the bag to create the vacuum during sealing. Nozzle sealers can be used for both commercial and home purposes.
Handheld versions of vacuum sealers are also available. These, however, are all fully manually operated and generally not recommended for commercial purposes.
WHY SHOULD YOU GET A VACUUM SEALER FOR YOUR FOOD BUSINESS?
Before vacuum sealers, food businesses used to make use of regular plastic bags and containers for food storage. Although these may still be used, there are distinct advantages which come with the use of commercial vacuum sealers.
Many microbes usually survive in aerobic settings – that is, in environments which have high concentrations of oxygen. Vacuum sealers remove as much oxygen as possible during the sealing process, thus making the environment less conducive for bacterial growth. Food can then be better preserved and even stored for longer periods of time.
Locking in That Flavor!
Because of the vacuum process during sealing, marinating food produces better results and flavor because juice and sauces are forced to enter the meat fibers even in just a short amount of time. Flavors are locked in and meat most especially, becomes better marinated.
Food Waste Reduction Resulting in Lessened Overhead Costs
When operating a food production business food waste is of concern due to ingredients and food which may easily get stale, if not spoiled. The use of commercial vacuum sealers greatly reduces food waste since food is usually preserved upon sealing. The removal of oxygen during the vacuum and sealing process inhibits bacterial growth which, in turn, prevents spoilage so food doesn’t have to be easily discarded.
This also lessens costs for the business since ingredients need not be frequently replenished and purchased. In fact, recent data has shown that the use of vacuum sealers has resulted in a 40% reduction in food waste worldwide.
Prolonged Life of Perishable Ingredients
Food businesses are best when fresh products are used. Fresh harvests, like fruits and vegetables, result in better cooked products. These, however, are highly perishable and may easily spoil Vacuum sealing preserves the freshness of ingredients like these so they can be used for longer periods of time.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A COMMERCIAL VACUUM SEALER?
With the many models and brands of commercial vacuum sealers being manufactured these days, there are basic features to look out for before deciding on a final purchase. There will, of course, be special features depending on the model and brand as each will have their own technology. For an entry level sealer though, you may want to consider the following basic features:
Ease of use
Commercial vacuum sealers may offer different sealing options and modes as added features. However, regardless of these special features, controls should be kept simple and clear especially since you would want to seal your products at the quickest possible time. There are machines that will even have one-touch buttons in order to simplify the sealing cycle. Look for a machine that will be simple to operate and use.
Vacum sealers are made of either ABS material or stainless steel. If your budget will allow it, get one that is made of stainless steel as these prove to be stain-resistant and better for long-term use.
Though commercial vacuum sealers are usually bulky ad quite big in size, try to get on that can at least be easily moved around when needed. There are models available that can easily fit on kitchen countertops for easy reach and storage.
Built-in Cutter and Roller
Some models will have cutters built in the machine so that you can easily cut the vacuum bags into size without having to transfer them to and fro to the machine. Some will also have rollers so the plastic bags are easily dispensed from within the machine itself.
Since the sealer will most probably be used to handle food in large volumes, try to get a commercial vacuum sealer that can operate continuously without it heating up. There are those that will require a cooking time in between uses and this can be considered a waste of time. Look for one that will have no need for any cooling time even during prolonged hours of use.
Q and As
1. Is shrink wrap packaging the same as vacuum sealing?
No. Although both make use of heat to seal plastic bags, shrink wrap packaging does not remove oxygen during the sealing process. Because of this, food cannot be preserved in shrink wrapping unlike vacuum sealing.
2. What is the difference between a commercial and home vacuum sealer?
Commercial vacuum sealers are designed for heavy and continuous use. They are designed to seal food packages produced in large volumes uniike home vacuum sealers.
When it comes to power consumption, expect commercial vacuum sealers to use more power as compared to home vacuum sealers. Commercial vacuum sealers consume more power since they perform the sealing process in a faster amount of time unlike home vacuum sealers.
3. Can soft and brittle types of food be vacuum sealed?
Yes. Soft and brittle types of food like bread and chips my be vacuum sealed without causing much damage to the food. However, extra caution has to be taken during handling.
Air is initially removed from the vacuum bag during sealing and replaced with an inert gas in order to preserve the food. The inert gas serves as an extra cushion during packaging.
One other option, is to place the food in a plastic container and sealing the container along with the food.
Food packaging has come a long way from earlier days of food production. The development of vacuum sealers is a welcome addition to the many useful machines for food production and food preservation. Having one in your commercial kitchen is one that will definitely not leave you room for regrets and will definitely be worth the investment in the long term.