Modified atmosphere packaging isn't just for meat.
Bagels in coextruded hermetically sealed packaging may last 30 days.
Blown or cast high-barrier packages can keep a pizza's crust or half-baked bread dough from rising before the consumer heats the item in an oven.
The bread application is popular in Europe, said Frank Kitchel, director of marketing with Eval Co. of America of Lisle, Ill.
Earl Hatley, food area market manager with AlliedSignal Inc.'s Specialty Films unit in Morristown, N.J., agreed that baguette bakery breads in MAP constitute ``a large business in Europe.'' He sees partially prepared bakery products and snacks in MAP as a trend developing in the United States.
Blown or cast coextruded flexible MAP keeps precooked bacon or sausage stable for restaurant or home reheating.
The case-ready-meat concept with potential labor savings appeals to grocery chains or discounters that are building supermarkets.
But, ironically, ``some warehouse clubs use a butcher cutting meat as a selling point,'' said Lloyd Widom, packaging analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. in New York.