What is vacuum packaging?

Vacuum packaging is a form of aerated packaging. The overall goal of vacuum packaging is to eliminate some or all of the oxygen that would normally cause degradation. Depending on the type of product being packaged, oxygen and nitrogen can be mixed within the vacuum packaging to extend the life of the product.
Vacuum packaging is not limited to consumable products. There are many other non-consumable products that are commonly vacuum packed. Any product that is sensitive to moisture, dust or any other external elements is well suited for vacuum packaging.
Another standard packaging option for products that are sensitive to external elements is shrink packaging. Many people think that shrink packaging and vacuum packaging are the same, but there are some key differences between the two.

Vacuum vs. shrink packaging

Shrink packaging and vacuum packaging use heat to seal the open end of the package after the product is inserted. This is one of the only common factors between the two forms of packaging.
Once the open end is sealed, shrink packaging uses heat to shrink the film around the product. Shrink packaging does not remove the oxygen from the package as vacuum packaging does. Shrink packaging usually requires small ventilation holes in the shrink film to allow air to escape as the film is heated. The product inside the shrink wrap is usually not completely isolated from oxygen and other external elements.
Vacuum packaging uses an air compressor to remove air from the package and then a heat sealer to seal the product from the external elements. Vacuum packaging bags and tubes are typically much thicker than shrink wrap or bags.
Vacuum packaging can also add an additional gas, such as nitrogen. The additional gas, such as nitrogen, helps to balance out the changes associated with lower oxygen levels. For some products, the addition of nitrogen can help extend the life of the product.