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Food & Beverage

Food manufacturers often use nitrogen purging, modified atmospheric packaging (MAP) and nitrogen blanketing to displace oxygen from the atmosphere while processing or storing the food. The presence of oxygen introduces moisture which deteriorates food quality. Using nitrogen to purge food products of oxygen is a safe practice widely used throughout the food industry.

Companies operating in the highly competitive food and beverages industry know oxygen exposure can have a massive effect on product quality, as well as how long perishable foods remain stable for consumption. Oxidation causes spoilage and deterioration of nutritional properties, observed through changes in colour, smell, taste and texture which in some cases can make consumers ill. These highly undesirable outcomes ultimately impact on both company reputation and customer experience.

Food Packaging & Storage

Nitrogen gas has long been used in the food packaging to help preserve the quality of the delivered product. During the packaging process, replacing oxygen in the packaging atmosphere with nitrogen as a non-chemical preservative to help prevent oxidation, preserves freshness, protects nutrients, prevents growth of aerobic microbes and extending the shelf life of the product.

Nitrogen gas is the most cost effective industry solution. Clean, dry & inert, it is used for form filling, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) & inert storage, helping to:
  • Extend shelf-life (in many cases by several months)
  • Minimize the need for chemical preservatives
  • Increase the reach of product distribution
  • Prevent packaging collapse and less material to be used
  • Guard against bacteria, biochemical reactions and insects
  • Improved export opportunities to new geographic markets

Beverage Processing

Nitrogen gas is also widely used in the beer brewing, wine and fruit juice making. Contact with oxygen must be avoided in various production steps in the manufacture of beverages, because there is a risk of microbial infections as well as oxidative and enzymatic reactions when oxygen is present, this can lead to quality losses or to spoilage of the beverages. The risk can be minimised or eliminated by blanketing storage tanks or vessels, purging bottles before products filling to reduces the oxygen content in the atmosphere and eliminates the concern of oxygen contacting the products. Nitrogen allows a longer storage time while conserving the colour, aromas and natural flavour of the beverage. Nitrogen gas will also keep beverage lines clean, dry, and inert.

Kiln / Grain Drying

The low dew point of nitrogen makes it an ideal choice for grain drying and kiln drying. Because of the need for a continuous feed of dry N2 into the bin or kiln, the 24/7 capability of an nitrogen generator from On Site Gas Systems offers a perfect solution for grain/kiln drying applications. As a value-added feature, the lower O2 content of the N2 stream helps prevent the growth of organics, and can reduce the threat of explosions.


Sparging is the specific method of stripping which involves bubbling a gas through a liquid. The gas absorbs and carries the contaminant with it as it rises to the surface and is vented away from the process stream and vessel. Air Products provides nitrogen and applications know-how to make your sparging/stripping application effective and efficient, using the smallest amount of gas necessary. Nitrogen can be used as a carrier gas for in-line and in-tank sparging to strip out volatile contaminants and improve efficiency.

Equipment / Pipelines Purging

Nitrogen purging is an air-cleansing method used to ensure that no trace of harmful contaminants or gases is left in the atmosphere. The ultimate goal here is to re-stabilize the environment to prevent contamination or explosion.

When aiming to purge pipelines, for instance, dry nitrogen gas can be run through the lines to eliminate any remaining water. In addition, the nitrogen prepares pipelines or vessels that will later be exposed to flammable or explosive gases.

Some of the other applications of nitrogen purging include but are not limited to:
  • Headspace purging when brewing beer. This helps extend the shelf life.
  • Purging toxic gases from varying process chambers, such as sputtering tools.
  • Purging volatile organics within the chemical and petrochemical industry.
  • Purging pipelines to bring oxygen levels to within a safe limit.
  • Preserves pH, eliminates microbial growth, minimizes corrosion, etc.
  • Metal fabrication, more specifically while welding materials such as stainless steel, titanium and nickel (removes water vapor, oxygen and other gases that may compromise a welding joint).

Common Products & Sectors using Nitrogen in Food & Beverage Industries

  • Snack Food
  • Coffee
  • Rice
  • Bakery
  • Edible Oils
  • Dairy
  • Wine
  • Fruit Juice
  • Animal Feed
  • Grain Silos

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