Many of you #already know the benefits of vacuum sealed bags - easy meal prep, extended shelf life, sealed in flavor, and more. In fact, we love this method so much we launched our very own new and improved of Anova Precision® Vacuum Sealer Bags and Rolls last year. The most exciting part is that our new bags and rolls are now 100% plastic neutral. Every time you purchase a box, the equivalent of 32 plastic bottles will be prevented from entering the ocean through our partnership with Plastic Bank®.
Benefits of Vacuum Sealing
Vacuum sealing can greatly extend the lifespan of many different kinds of food, from cheese and meats to vegetables and fish. For example, some types of cheese such as mozzarella will only last 1-2 weeks when stored by conventional means in the fridge, but vacuum sealed mozzarella can be stored in the fridge for 4-8 months.
Almost all fruits and vegetables can be stored in your freezer and generally preserves their taste, nutrients, and health benefits. You can also freeze breads and meats. Frozen food that is vacuum sealed lasts an average of 2-3 years (although we would hope you’d get to cooking before then!)
How does it work? Vacuum sealing deprives your food of oxygen, which means that harmful mold and bacteria will be prevented from growing. This method also protects food from dehydration and freezer burn. An added benefit of keeping your food from contact with the air is that moisture cannot evaporate – protecting your sealed food from dehydration and freezer burn. Sealing your food and removing excess air also means that flavors and juices are locked in.
Food Waste Warrior
The greatest benefit of vacuum sealing is that it allows you to directly reduce the amount of food you waste. One-third of all the food the world produces ends up in the trash - or in other words, the equivalent of $218 billion of food is thrown away every year. This in a world where one in seven people go hungry. We think we should all do our part to counteract this as much as we can.
Food waste also has a huge environmental impact. In fact, food sent to landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Each year, wasted food emits more than 3 billion tons of these gases, directly impacting our climate. Twenty one percent of freshwater is used to produce food that ends up being thrown away. Whether you know it or not, reducing your food waste actually has a huge positive effect in several different areas. For those of you who want to learn more about this topic - check out these ten stories about food waste produced by our parent company Electrolux.
Instead of throwing food out or forcing yourself to eat everything in one sitting, you can vacuum seal your food and heat it up whenever your cravings set in. There is no thawing or other prep that you need to do. Simply toss your food in the water bath until it’s done and voila – a restaurant quality meal at your fingertips (without any waste). It can also save you money (and who doesn’t love that). In fact, according to FoodSaver®, vacuum sealing your food can save you up to $2700 a year by increasing the amount of food you save. Win for your wallet, win for the planet.
Partnering with the Plastic Bank
Solutions require partnerships.
That is why we teamed up with Plastic Bank to stop ocean plastic while improving the lives of collector communities. Plastic Bank builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities, and reprocess the materials for reintroduction into the global supply chain as Social Plastic®. Collectors receive a premium for the materials they collect which helps them provide basic family necessities such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition, and health insurance. Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain platform secures the entire transaction and provides real-time data visualization – allowing for transparency, traceability, and rapid scalability. Plastic Bank currently operates in Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Egypt.
Anova is taking the step to make sure all vacuum sealer bag purchases are 100% plastic neutral, meaning that for each box we sell, the equivalent amount of ocean-bound plastic is collected. Learn more at plasticbank.com
Launching our new and improved vacuum sealer bags is the best solution right now, but there’s more work to be done. Since our bags require oxygen to break down, the less oxygen they have, the longer the process will take. As more trash gets added in landfills, old waste gets pushed down further into the center of the pile – getting exposed to less oxygen and sunlight. That means that even though these bags are designed to break down, they will not be able to do so in our current waste system. This is a larger, systemic issue that will take the effort of businesses, government, consumers and the community to change.
That’s why our goal is to have a fully recyclable or compostable bag available by 2022. We know that sustainable cooking is the way of the future, which is just the first step in our journey. Rest assured that we’ll keep you updated every step of the way.
The Big Picture
Before we seal it up, we wanted to take a step back to look at the big picture. As consumers, we are surrounded by plastics on a daily basis almost everywhere we go. Plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic wrap, the plastic your food comes in at the grocery store (milk jugs, cooking oil, yogurts, bread bags, snacks, beverages). Take out containers. Shampoo. Dish soap. Laundry detergent. The list goes on and on. It’s nearly impossible to escape single use plastics, even for the most eco-conscious of us.
There’s also other factors to consider, such as the carbon cost of driving to your favorite restaurant to get the same results you can get with sous vide in your own kitchen. Even if you drive 5 miles in a Tesla - a super energy efficient car - you are still using more energy than what it would take to heat up a water bath to 150°F and cook your steak for an hour. Beyond driving, restaurants themselves use a ton of energy. According to Energy Star, restaurants consume more than 5 to 7 times the amount of energy per square foot as other commercial buildings.
And we haven’t even considered all the other waste that restaurants generate when preparing your food. Just think about the take out containers you need for leftovers, any extra food you decide not to finish, kitchen trimmings, etc.
By using your own device at home, you can get restaurant-quality results using less energy than it takes to heat a pot of water. You can store your leftovers in your very own reusable containers. You can save on carbon emissions.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t doing our best to come up with an alternative solution to cooking with plastic. What we are saying is that it’s important to think about the larger picture when considering your environmental footprint.
We hope that with these tips and tricks, you are able to minimize or eliminate your sous vide plastic use. In the end - it’s up to you to decide what makes the most sense for your lifestyle.
If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, please email email@example.com!
Until next time,Anastasia