Ultimate Guide: VSP Vacuum Skin Pack and Vacuum Skin Packaging Machine

Abstract: VSP vacuum skin packaging is a cutting-edge packaging technology mainly used in food packaging and hardware packaging industries. Yide Machinery supplies fully range of vacuum skin packaging machines, from small table top vacuum skin packaging machine to thermoforming vacuum skin packaging machine. Read the article to find the answers of your questions regarding VSP vacuum skin pack and vacuum skin packaging machines, or send us an inquiry by filling in the contact form at the end of the article, email: lander@landercn.com.

vacuum skin pack

Vacuum skin packaging

What is VSP vacuum skin packaging

VSP vacuum skin packaging is an advanced packaging technology that is widely used in premium food packaging and hardware packaging. Vacuum skin packaging combines a layer of special transparent skin pack film as top sealing, the product to pack in the middle, and a plastic skin pack tray or cardboard that hold the product at the bottom of the package.

(In this article, we only talk about related information of food vacuum skin packaging)

This packaging technology is called as “vacuum skin packaging”, because the top skin pack film is heated to adhere to the product and skin pack tray/cardboard tightly like a “second-skin” of the products. Considering the high transparency of the skin pack film, it’s almost invisible on the packages.

Vacuum skin packaging perfectly combines utility and aesthetics together, this unique advantage makes vacuum skin packaging an outstanding solution for premium food packaging, especially meat products, poultry, seafood and fish products, cheese products.

vacuum skin packaging

The history of vacuum skin packaging

The technology of VSP vacuum skin packaging was invented in year 1955, and is applied to both food packaging and hardware packaging industries. The use of vacuum skin packaging in food business, especially meat and seafood/fish products, is booming in recent years, so people might think that vacuum skin pack technology is invented for packaging of food products only.

But it’s not the case at all. Actually, vacuum skin packaging has been widely used for protective packaging of hardware since it was invented, including electric chips, circuit boards, automotive accessories, tools, etc.

Vacuum skin packaging technology has been evolving in 2 ways: Vacuum skin packaging machines, and vacuum skin packaging materials. The developing and changing of the 2 factors are driving the use of vacuum skin pack more widespread. Research shows that in year 2025, the vacuum skin packaging market will be around 5 billion US dollars.

Advantages and benefits of vacuum skin packaging

As one of the most favorite food packaging technology, vacuum skin packaging offers incredible benefits to everybody in the business: Food processors, logistics, distributors, retailers, and end consumers.

Below is the list of 10 advantages and benefits of adopting vacuum skin packaging in your food business:

  1. The first and most important purpose of packaging: Extended Shelf Life
    VSP vacuum vacuum skin pack is actually an upgraded version of vacuum pack, it removes nearly all of the air in the packages, expecially oxygen, to keep food products stay fresh for a longer time. Vacuum skin pack tightly locks liquids in the protein, effectively reduces purge which is important to improve shelf life and offers more attractive appearance than other packaging methods. With longer shelf life, the products can be shipped to further destinations, reducing shrinkage and offers more potential to expand your market area to other cities, states or even countries.
  2. Vacuum skin pack offers utility and aesthetical presentation of food products
    In vacuum skin packaging, the crystal clear skin pack film tightly covers the surface of product and substrate (tray or cardboard) like a second skin, tremendously enhances the appearance of the food products and showcases vibrant and rich proteins vividly; Moreover, the tight product adhension locks the product to the tray/cardboard to prevent random movement and leakage, which offers the ability to showcase the products vertically, or directly hang the packages on walls/display cabinets.
  3. Vacuum skin pack can minimize the use of preservatives
    End consumers are having more health conscious, and are pursuiting the original flavors, taste, color of food products, as a result, more and more food processors are responding by using fewer preservatives. Food business owners certainly want appealing packaging and product to keep and attractive the health-conscious customers, VSP vacuum skin pack is the perfect way to deliver on that promise without having to sacrifice product shelf life.
  4. For end consumers, No more worries of Freezer Burn
    Freezer burn discolors food, covers food in frost, and dry out food in certain areas, many end-consumers have experienced a loss of frozen foods due to it. Vacuum skin packaging prevents freezer burn at its source, because of the complete air reduction from within and outside of the packages. The reduction in the air keeps moisture within the vacuum skin packed products and stops freezer burn.vacuum skin pack can prevent freezer burn
  5. Another benefit for food presentation: Great for Products with High Protrusion
    Vacuum skin pack can contain high protrusion products with more appealing presentation than any other types packaging method. Thick cuts of meat, big size fish fillets, and whole chicken can be secured tightly, and be displayed prominently in an attractive 3D view. super protruding vacuum skin pack
  6. Logistics benefits
    Vacuum skin pack facilitates the transportation of food products, and save shipping cost by reducing the volume of the packages (compare to MAP modified atmosphere packaging); Extended shelf life of vacuum skin packed products also allow longer transportation time and distance.
  7. Value-added packaging.
    Premium food products in vacuum skin pack are more appealing to consumers, which offers the potential of higher unit-price and more sales volume. Plus, the longer shelf life by vacuum skin pack can reduce food loss during the selling process, less loss of food means less loss of investment.
  8. Reduce packaging material waste
    In vacuum skin pack, usually only films, trays or paperboard are required, no need for soaker pads like in MAP modified atmosphere packaging. Depending on materials chosen, VSP yields significantly less solid waste than its food packaging counterparts of EPS foam and heavy rigid trays. In the case of using film and paperboard, the packaging process is highly efficient and may be able to use less material compared to traditional packaging methods.
  9. Reduce food waste
    Food products in vacuum skin pack have longer shelf life, are less likely to be damaged, contaminated, or expire, which helps companies and end-consumers reduce product loss.
  10. Less Liquid Migration 
    Another important advantage to vacuum skin pack is the ability to contain liquids. While the packaging methods of ordinary tray sealing and foam tray overwrap allow purge to migrate within the packaging, vacuum skin packaging prevents liquid migration. This means food producers can include sauces/juices without having them transfer between food components, and purge (blood, juices, added solutions) from the meat do not flow around the package. Purge is a significant contributor to spoilage bacteria growth, reducing shelf life.
ready meals vacuum skin pack
Ready meals vacuum skin packaging

How does vacuum skin pack extend food’s shelf life

Vacuum skin packaging can effectively extend food shelf life, no doubt! But how does it work? Let’s explain it in 3 points.

  1. Microbial Growth Restraining
    Microbial growth is often the main cause of food spoilage. VSP vacuum skin pack prevents microbial growth from happening as it removes the oxygen which is necessary for bacteria, mold, mildew, and yeast to live and reproduce. This restraining effect can be enhanced to even better level when accompanied by other prevention methods such as freezing, refrigeration, dehydration, and heat sterilization.
  2. Oxidation Prevention
    Again, removing of Oxygen from packages is working in another way: oxidation prevention. When fats and pigments in food are exposed to oxygen molecules, they will be oxidized and food flavor and color will be degraded. Oxidation also causes the loss of vitamin C and A in food products, making them less nutritious. Vacuum skin packaging removes all the air within the package, keeps food from being exposed to oxygen, thereby maintaining the fragrance, color, and nutritional value of packaged products.
  3. Lock and minimum liquid migration to prolong shelf life
    The skin pack film firmly combines the products to skin/cardboard so that the juices/soups are locked from migration, prevent purge which can easily cause spoilage bacteria growth.

What food products can be packaged in VSP

Vacuum skin packaging is just an advanced version of regular vacuum packing, so technically speaking, vacuum skin pack can be applied to those food products that are able to be vacuum packed. But in reality, the story is different. The cost of VSP vacuum skin pack, however, is still higher than regular vacuum packaging, including the cost of both packaging machines and packaging materials.

At the time being, vacuum skin packaging is most applied to premium food products, including:

  1. Meat products: Beef steaks, Pork meat, Ribs, Bison, Lamb chops, Premium sausages, ham, etc
  2. Seafood and fish products: Salmon fillets, Tuna fillets, Premium fishes, Lobster, Crabs, Shrimps, etc
  3. Poultry products: Whole chicken, Turkey meat, goose livers, chicken wings, chicken thighs, etc
  4. Cheese products
  5. Ready meals
  6. Premium fruits, for example durian pupls from Mayalsia.
vacuum skin packaging machine

Vacuum skin packaging machine

What is vacuum skin packaging machine

Just as its name implies, vacuum skin packaging machine is the equipment to process and complete vacuum skin pack of food products conveniently and efficiently. The basic working mechanism of vacuum skin packaging machine is as below:

  1. Put the product into pre-made/thermoformed trays, or on cardboards
  2. Heat the skin pack film to a certain temperature
  3. Pull and press the heated skin pack film to cover the product and tray/cardboard tightly by vacuum technology
  4. Cut the trims manually or automatically

We supply full range of vacuum skin packaging machines, from table top type vacuum skin packaging machine to fully automatic thermoforming vacuum skin packaging machine. Please visit the vacuum skin packaging machine category for details.

Main types of vacuum skin packaging machine

According to the automation level, we can briefly classify vacuum skin packaging machines into 4 types: Manual type; Vertical semi-auto type; Inline automatic type; Thermoforming vacuum skin packaging machine.

Manual type vacuum skin packaging machine

This type of vacuum skin packaging machine requires the most manual operation, including putting the trays/cardboards into the vacuum chamber, pulling the skin pack film to cover the products, cutting the film trims, taking the completed packages out of the vacuum chamber.
Our tabletop vacuum skin packaging machine LSP350 and Floor type semi-automatic VSP machine LSP760 are the 2 typical manual type vacuum skin packaging machines.

tabletop vacuum skin packaging machine
Tabletop vacuum skin packaging machine
vacuum skin packaging machine
Floor type semi-automatic vacuum skin packaging machine LSP760

Vertical automatic vacuum skin packaging machine

The vertical automatic vacuum skin packaging machine LSP450 still requires manual operation to put the trays into the mold and take out the completed packages from the mold, but it can automatically infeed the skin pack sealing film and trim the film automatically. For the machine details, please visit the product link.

YouTube video

Inline type automatic vacuum skin packaging machine

The LSP550 inline type vacuum skin packaging machine offers the highest automatic level to minimize manual operation, operator only needs to put the pre-made trays with products into the lanes, the rest processes will be completed completely. Click product link here for machine details. 

YouTube video

Thermoforming vacuum skin packaging machine

Thermoforming vacuum skin packaging machine is an advanced version of thermoforming packaging machine, it involves a roll of rigid bottom film to automatically thermoform the rigid skin pack trays, and vacuum seal the product and tray by a roll of top skin pack film.

YouTube video

How to select and buy the right vacuum skin packaging machine

If you are not sure what type of vacuum skin packaging machine best fits your need, simply try to consider the following 3 points:

  1. Production capacity requirement. You may need the vacuum skin packaging machine for different purposes, maybe  (1) for laboratory purpose to test skin pack materials or research the shelf life of food products in vacuum skin pack, (2) for market trial,  (3) for skin pack in small food shop, supermarkets, (4) large quantity skin pack production that requires hundreds or thousands of packages per hour.
  2. The potential to expand production capacity. Yes, the capacity potential is important because it may help you to save a lot of money. If you are confident in the sales growth of your product, buy 1 skin pack machine with larger capacity may be cost-effective than 2 or more machines with smaller capacities
  3. Conder the labor cost. With a skin pack machine with higher automatic level may help you save labor cost of 1-2 people, which will save you a lot of salary to be made.
  4. Budget plan. All in all, you need to pay for the skin pack machine, it certainly is necessary to buy a machine within the limitation of the budget plan.

Vacuum skin packaging materials

As same as any type of packaging, the vacuum skin packaging material is one of the key factors that directly determines the skin pack quality. The selection of skin pack material is not random, you should know the features of your product, features of the packaging material, and choose the perfect fit.

1) According the appearance of the vacuum skin packaging, there are 2 types of substrates :

  1. Plastic trays: usually PP trays. 
  2. Paper cardboard

2) The top sealing film that firmly covers the product and substrate  is called vacuum skin pack film. The material of vacuum skin packaging film can be different according to the product to be packed. Ordinarily, the skin pack films are made of PE, or composite of PE/EVOH/PE, etc.

vacuum skin packaging material

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Ultimate Guide: VSP Vacuum Skin Pack and Vacuum Skin Packaging Machine
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