Vacuum packaging machines are increasing in popularity as they move from commercial use into home and public use. Initially, vacuum packaging machines were primarily used as a method of extending the shelf-life of foods. By removing all of the air surrounding a food product such as meat, vacuum packaging can protect the product from bacteria present in air that can cause spoilage. For the food industry lengthening the shelf-life using vacuum packaging machines prevents the loss of profits through wastage, and can be especially important for the transport of expensive cuts of meat or fish. In addition, increasing the shelf life of a product enables a company to transport their product further without spoilage and thus access different markets and potentially increase their client base. Vacuum packaging machines also decrease the amount of space needed to store a product which impact the costs of product shipping or transport.
Recent years have seen a large decrease in the size and cost of vacuum packaging machines which have made them more accessible for at home use for not only food storage but also for the cooking of food. Sous-vide cooking is a new method of cooking food in which a vacuum packaging machine is used to form a tight seal around meat before cooking on a low heat in a water bath for long periods of time. Cooking in this way seals juices from within the meat into the tissue and cooks the meat within its own juices rather than in water which can strip away the taste, or under dry heat which evaporates these natural juices. Using a vacuum packaging machine can then lead to creating dishes which have a unique taste which is not repeatable using traditional cooking methods. Further, using vacuum packaging machines to cook is surprisingly easy to produce good results.