Bag in a box to wine lovers is not a stranger. The benefits of Bag-in-Box are many folds. The most important one is keeping the content fresher for a longer period after opening.
The olive oil industry has recently started to package olive oil in this way. We are quick to introduce this new packaging to our Singaporean friends. Let’s find out what Bag-in-Box is all about?
What is Bag-in-Box?
Bag-in-Box is a single use packaging solution ideal for preserving the content inside the bag. It consists of three elements:
- A strong bladder or plastic bag, seated inside a box, usually made of several layers of metallised film offering a barrier to light.
- A box usually made of corrugated cardboard preventing light from penetrating in.
- An air-tight dispenser or tap consisting a one-way valve preventing oxygen and moisture coming in contact with the olive oil.
What are the Enemies of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Light, heat and oxygen are three enemies of extra virgin olive oil. When it has prolong and constant contact with any of these, the extra virgin olive oil will go rancid or become bad very soon.
In a conventional packaging such as glass bottle, when we pour out the olive oil, we could expect an equal amount of oxygen and moisture goes into the bottle. Exposure to oxygen and moisture is compounded if the bottle is half empty or left uncapped.
It is for this reason that we recommend to consume the olive oil, upon opening, within one to two months in order to enjoy its flavour and aroma at its peak.
What are the chemical in the olive oil that can influence its shelf life?
- Free Fatty Acid: We simply refer to it as “acidity”. Cold extracted olive oil that has acidity less than or equal to 0.8% and without any taste defects is classified as “extra virgin” olive oil. The lower it is, the better its shelf life.
- Peroxide Value: A high level of peroxide value will shorten the olive oil shelf life. The International Olive Council stipulates that it must be less than or equal to 20 mEq O2/kg.
- Oxygen promotes oxidation, which is bad, and shorten shelf life of the olive oil.
- Moisture also promotes oxidation and will shorten olive oil shelf life.
- Phenolics are antioxidants, which are good to prolong shelf life.
Bag-in-Box packaging solves two of these problems – light and oxygen.
- The bag and its corrugated cardboard provide double protective layers for any possible light penetration to the olive oil.
- When the bag is dispensing the olive oil through the tap, the bag collapses keeping the air away from the olive oil.
- The push-button tap, which is attached to the bag, has a one-way valve design preventing air and oxygen from getting inside the bag and coming into contact with the olive oil.
Keeping Freshness & Flavour
Bag-in-Box hence can keep the freshness and aromatic flavour of olive oil consistently over a longer period of time versus if it is packaged in glass bottle or tin, in particular once it has been opened.
A study conducted by the University of Córdoba has shown that Bag-in-Box has the lowest oxidation in terms of its peroxide value, and K270 and K232 as compared to glass bottle, PET bottle and tin packaging, whereas PET bottle packaging has the highest oxidation rate.
Bag-in-Box preserves the quality and extends the shelf life of olive oil. It protects the olive oil from exposure to air and in-contact with oxygen upon opening.
Noticeably, the advantages of Bag-in-Box are its weight, cost, size, and environment friendliness.
- Bag-in-Box is light. For a 5 litre Bag-in-Box, it weighs 5 kg. For an equivalent 5 litre of glass bottles, it is a whopping 9.2 kg.
- The packaging cost of Bag-in-Box, as compared to glass bottle or tin, is relatively cheaper and hence making the olive oil more affordable.
- We can also decant just-enough of olive oil into a bottle we like for our everyday use, and refill the bottle again when it is empty. Unlike a glass bottle, once we open, we have to consume the olive oil within one to two month in order to savour its freshness and flavours.
Tips: When we decant the olive oil from the Bag-in-Box into a bottle, we recommend not topping up the bottle but finishing the oil entirely, rinsing it clean and then filling it again.
Topping up the bottle is a bad practice. Doing so will taint the fresh olive oil in the bottle, which in turn will make oxidisation faster over time. The result, the olive oil loses its flavours and freshness.
- The dimension of Bag-in-Box is small and compact, 14 (W) x 18 (L) x 23 (H) cm – approximately an A5 paper size – making it easy for storage.
- Bag-in-Box holds higher volume of content, such as 5 litre or 10. Therefore, less packaging or labeling is required. The material used is lighter than the other plastic alternatives, reducing the carbon footprint during transportation.
- Since the olive oil stays fresh longer, we will not throw away bottles we do not finish on time, reducing waste.
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How to Operate Bag-in-Box?
Bag-in-Box is easy to operate.
Here is a video, courtesy of el Olivo Global, that best demonstrates the process, from opening the box to operating.
Señorío de Vizcántar 5L Bag-in-Box
The 5 litre Bag-in-Box is the newest 2016/2017 harvest. We recommend this olive oil for our everyday use, be it using it raw or for frying – it is aromatic and healthy.
With acidity 0.25% and a smoke point around 210°C, it is a must-have staple to stock our kitchen.
TASTE: Medium intensity. Aromatic, fruity with a perfect balance of herbal and floral aftertaste, and a hint of green. Medium bitterness and peppery finish.
AWARD: Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Selected by Children (2014). Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2014).
USE: This extra virgin olive oil is for everyday use, drizzling or frying. As an everyday cooking oil, it is economical and healthy. Smoke Point: ~210°C.