If you work in a butcher you will know that meat is a food that, due to its characteristics, must be kept fresh and in optimal storage conditions before its consumption. To achieve this, a vacuum packing machine is vital for your business. We explain everything you need to know before purchasing one!
Do you want your butcher shop to make a great qualitative leap? First, you must know all the advantages of having a vacuum packing machine, some as outstanding as greater food safety and a reduction in waste. Before revealing its benefits, we will answer some key questions.
Three key questions about vacuum packing machines
What is a vacuum packing machine and how does it work?
A vacuum packer is a machine that extracts the oxygen from the inside of a bag of food to seal it so that it is completely hermetic. This prevents air from entering or leaving the bag and the food from being exposed to external conditions, favouring hygiene and transport. In addition, thanks to the vacuum packaging technique, the packaged foods maintain their organoleptic properties such as their colour, taste and smell, and it promotes meat healing and tenderness.
How is a vacuum packing machine handled?
This equipment has a vacuum pump, a device that extracts air from the bag and can be controlled in two ways: by time or by sensor. In the first case, the user must indicate the time they want the pump to be in operation, with the risk of choosing very high durations and that the meat loses its moisture. For its part, with the sensor technology the vacuum packer controls the vacuum level of the chamber, stopping its activity once the desired percentage has been reached. Which one do we recommend? Undoubtedly the packaging by sensor since they are faster and will give you greater agility in your butcher shop.
What foods can I vacuum pack in my butcher shop?
Most of the foods and preparations of your butcher’s shop can be vacuum packed, from lean meats, sausages, whole pieces or sliced… It is enough to follow some guidelines to perform the technique correctly and to know the times of conservation of the foods. The only thing we do not recommend is to pack meat pieces with bones, as this can damage the vacuum bag.
A determining aspect to know the type of food that you can pack with your equipment is the shape of the lid of the packaging machine. There are models with a dome lid, which is high enough to pack large volume meat pieces such as loins, whole chickens, rabbits… On the other hand, the models with a flat lid are ideal for protecting sausages trays, cheese trays… and are the favourite of delis. You decide!
Common uses of a vacuum packer in a butcher’s shop
As we revealed earlier, a vacuum packing machine is a very versatile and efficient unit. What usual uses can you give it in your butcher shop? We offer you the three most outstanding ones.
The first one is basic: you can use your vacuum packing machine to keep the meat in perfect conditions. Thanks to the lack of oxygen in the bag, bacterial proliferation and the deterioration of the meat is reduced. It results in less waste and greater economic savings for your business.
The second common use of a vacuum packing machine in a butcher’s shop is for food rationing. For example, in the case of a ham, it can be cut up and distributed in smaller quantities that can be vacuum packed for sale. These rations can be easily weighed and handled, so you will have a better control of your meats and preparations.
Finally, the third frequent use of a vacuum packing machine in butchers is to create an ideal wrapper to expose food to the customer. Once packaged, the meat can be placed in refrigerated display cases, being ready for purchase. This is especially useful for filleted and prepared meats, as customers purchase them ready for consumption.
The vacuum bag sealing
A vital aspect to enjoy a correct vacuum packaging in your butcher shop is that the sealing of the bag is excellent. What does this imply?
When the packaging process is ending the sealing of the bag takes place. At that moment the bag is closed tightly to prevent the entry or exit of air and liquids. We advise you to pay attention when placing the bag in the chamber to avoid remaining food in the sealing area and that the bars touch the piece of meat.
Typically, a 4 mm thick seal offers sufficient safety guarantees for most meats. In addition, if you want to increase your productivity, there are vacuum packers that can seal two overlapping bags, which will reduce the waiting time at your butcher shop. Isn’t it amazing?
Tips for consuming vacuum-packed meat
Surely, the customers of your butcher shop will ask you how to consume the vacuum-packed meats. Out of doubt! We help you give them the best answer.
Vacuum-packed foods can be preserved 2 to 4 times longer than if they were at room temperature. As a general rule, it is recommended cooking vacuum-packed meat within 15 days of its purchase and always respect the cold chain.
As far as the appearance of vacuum-packed meat is concerned, as we revealed earlier, this technique maintains the qualities of the food. However, when you take the vacuum bag, you can see a dark colour in the meat. No need to worry! This reaction is caused by the absence of oxygen in the bag. In order for the meat to return to its colour, the bag should be opened and the meat tempered for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. Similarly, if a lactic acid smell is detected when the bag is opened, it is harmful and usually disappears within the same time.
Cold preservation of packaged meat
If your customers are not going to consume the vacuum-packed meat directly after its acquisition, it is preferable that they be frozen immediately so that they can enjoy it later. Keeping it in the same bag and at temperatures between -18º and -20º, it can last up to six months in perfect conditions. When you want to defrost the meat, it must be removed from its packaging and left in the open air so that the process is as respectful as possible.
Advantages of vacuum packing in butchers
With all this information, we hope that you have been able to learn a little more about the many advantages that a vacuum packing machine can bring to a butcher’s shop and its customers. Here is a summary of them!
- Ensures optimum food preservation
- Reduces shrinkage and promotes financial savings
- Maintains food security
- Help to organize the stock
- Facilitates the transport of the meat
If you want more detailed information about a fast, economical and easy vacuum packaging, click here. We are waiting for you!