About Long Shelf Life of Food

About Long Shelf Life Container

1)Long shelf life container

General container
 (Non-barrier container)

Since oxygen can pass through the container wall, the amount of oxygen increases in the container. As a result, good taste of food doesn't last very long.

Long shelf life container
 (Barrier container)

Since the barrier layer inhibits oxygen from passing through the wall, the amount of oxygen doesn't increase. As a result, microbes doesn't increase, and good taste of food lasts longer.

Active barrier container
Active barrier container is the evolved version of the barrier container. In addition to inhibiting the amount of oxygen in the container, the active barrier container absorbs oxygen in the container, and as a result, good taste of food lasts much longer.

Oxygen transmittance rate depends upon a type of container.

The above picture shows how each color of container has changed 19 hours after the chemical agent was applied. The non-barrier container shows it has turned blue.
(Evaluated in a laboratory of Kuraray Co., Ltd. ) 

Long shelf-life products on the market

Packaged saury kanroni
shelf life: three months (in chilled state)


Packaged saury stewed with olive oil(Ahijo)
shelf life: 12 months at room temperature


Packaged meat and potatoes
shelf life: three months (in chilled state)


Packaged mackerel stewed with miso
shell life: three months (in chilled state)


What is long shelf life of foods?

1)What is the food deterioration?

  • Food deterioration is related to such items and aspects (parentheses) as: taste (deterioration), texture (softening, hardening), water (increasing, decreasing), microbes (increasing, decaying), color (becoming darker or fainter),  smell (increasing, decreasing),  oxidation (deterioration), content change by light, change by temperature etc.
    Note: Extension of shelf life is to delay food deterioration by changing manufacturing conditions, storage conditions, and using packages.
Factor and methods
FactorMethod to delay deterioration
waterdrying, dehydrator, package with water barrier function
oxidationvacuum packaging, gas replacement packaging, oxygen scavenger, oxygen barrier packaging
lightprinting, aluminum packaging (foil, vapor deposition), UV (ultra violet) light cut packaging, outer packaging
temperaturelow temperature storage, low temperature distribution, frozen storage, frozen distribution, refrigerator storage
microbes drying, MAP, sterilization, ph adjusting, AW controlling, low temperature storage

MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) is to package produces in the bacteriostatic state where a package is filled with nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide gas, or both instead of air in order to inhibit growth of microbes.

PH (potential hydrogen) adjusting is to storage produces in ph-environment, such as vinegar liquid, where microbes are inhibited to grow.

AW (Water Activity) controlling is to control water activity with methods such as salt storage or syrup storage that enables microbes to be inhibited because of limiting water necessary for microbes.

2)Comparison of container's shelf life and the guideline of shelf life

※The long shelf-life barrier container inhibits oxygen gas from entering the container and increases shelf life of food because lack of oxygen inhibits growth of microbes.

 Non barrier containerBarrier container  (passive barrier)Active barrier container 
Material and character Common plastics that pass oxygen through the container wall over time. Specific plastic material that includes the barrier layer to prevent oxygen from passing through the wall. Specific plastic material that not only prevents oxygen from passing but also absorbs oxygen in the container.
Guideline of shelf life We don't recommend this container. Though food in the container doesn't spoil because of retort sterilization, food oxidizes and the taste deteriorates. Shelf life is about from 3 months to one year, depending on kind of food and packaging material. Shelf life is about from one and half year to three years, depending on a kind of food and packaging material.
Since the container Has three-year shelf life, it can be an alternative to a can.
note: Guideline of shelf life is based upon sterilized retort food.

※ Comparison of a can container and an alternative plastic container

Long life technology for foods

1)Technology for producing typical non-perishable foods and the guideline of shelf life

No.producing technologyguideline of shelf life
prepared deli package (tray and cover)
cooked food package (vacuum cooling, hypochlorous acid sterilization) 
refrigeration, room temperature: several days 
hermetically-sealed packaging (pouch, tray and hermetically-sealed film)  several days + α
vacuum packaging, vacuum-gas replacement packaging (including MAP) several days + α
cook-chill method, vacuum preparation (for companies, hospitals, and restaurants ) refrigeration :
several days
freezing (hermetically sealed, in pouch, in tray)
individual freezing (IQF), common freezing
one year
hermetically-sealed and low sterilization (boiling, ordinary steam pressure, 65-100 ℃)
hermetically-sealed,  pressured, heated, and low sterilization (over 100℃)
5-90 days
canning, retort sterilization (high level)
pressured and heated sterilization after hermetically sealed (retort pot is at 110-135℃)
 room temperature:
180 days - 3 years
aseptic packaging (for milk and rice)
aseptic packaging after sterilization
room temperature, refrigeration:
60 days - 3 years

2)Our long shelf life technology

1.Long shelf life technology using barrier container packaging and gas replacement packaging.
2.Long shelf life technology using barrier container packaging and low temperature sterilization (low sterilization)
3.Room-temperature storage and microwave-capable packagin using a barrier container and retort sterilization (high sterilization)
4.Room-temperature storage packaging for aseptic packaging rice
5.Room-temperature storage and microwave-capable packaging using an active barrier container that is a substitute for a can. 

・We have developed a barrier container of transparent type. (not a black container made from iron powder)
・We  unveiled it at the 2011 and 2012 technology conference of Japan Canners Association and the 2013 technology conference of Japan Packaging Institute.
・We have solid performance and can offer various products meeting customers' requirements.

3)Key points in our long shelf life technology

1.Gas replacement packaging long shelf life technology
election of container material and barrier material
2.Low temperature sterilization long shelf life technology
election of container material and barrier material, design of container shape, selection of sealant, and design of seal
sterilization technology for the container that includes air in the head space, and condition setting
3.Microwave-capable room-temperature storage technology using retort sterilization (high sterilization)
selection of container material and barrier material, heat-resistant design, selection of sealant, and design of seal
retort sterilization technology where the container including air in the head space is sterilized under some conditions set by our skills.
4.Retort sterilization technology and microwave-capable room-temperature storage technology that makes use of an active barrier container, which is a substitute for a can.
In addition to things included in the item 3, design of an active barrier container (as well as mixing of sheet resins, and molding)
Note: Our expertise in these technologies allows us to offer you the best solution.

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