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Behind the Scenes – Mylar Bag Mil Inflation and How it Relates to Long Term Food Storage (or doesn’t)

Posted by Tobias on 8th May 2014

So I was wandering around checking some competitor’s offerings last week, and I saw something interesting. This particular supplier (The 2nd largest supplier of Mylar Bags on the ‘Net) had changed all their listings from ’5 Mil’ Mylar Bags, to ’5.4 Mil’, Mylar Bags. Now, I recognize most common Mil ratings and what their layer composition likely is based on my time spent around manufacturers and at trade shows, and 5.4 Mil is not something in regular production at various manufacturers around the world.

So I thought there were a couple of possibilities in regards to these listings:

1) The supplier had created their own composition. Possible, but I thought this unlikely, as packaging structures are not their strong suit, as on several occasions I had called them to talk about materials and the like, and none of the folks on staff were able to even answer basic questions.

2) More likely was the supplier had lost business to the large numbers of new competitors around the ‘Net offering 5 mil bags (us included), where they used to be one of the few places offering a large number of 5 mil sizes. It seems their answer to this was to simply update their listings to a ‘new, improved 5.4 mil bag!’.

Now, I couldn’t be sure of this without ordering some bags (which I do from most vendors every year or so, just to keep current). So I did, and lo and behold, the ‘new’ bags I received from the supplier are the exact same specification as the 5 sets of previous 5 mil bags I ordered from them over the past several years.  While I could make some less than polite comments about this, I won't.

Does this bother me? Not really. The practice of ‘mil inflation’ (both real and imaginary) is fairly common, and mostly harmless. Why? Because when bags do get thicker, most of the extra weight you hear about when folks talk 5-7.5 mil bags (in comparison to the old standard 3.5-4.5 mil bags) is in foil…typically, extra foil exists to add tensile strength to a bag, and to block light...having a thicker foil layer doesn't provide much more MVTR or OTR than bags made 10 years ago. While we offer our own line of awesome 5 (or now, 5.4!) mil bags, our Econ line of bags block light 99% as well and are still very effective at blocking moisture and oxygen. And unless you are using them as punching bags, the only time extra tensile strength is necessary is if you are storing pokey pasta or directly on a surface and not in a hard-sided container.

So please, buyer beware when you hear of someone offering the ‘newest and greatest’ Mylar bags (or oxygen absorbers for that matter). It could well be (and likely is) a marketing change, and not a change in material. If you ever have doubts, or questions, about what you are looking at, please drop us a note at We love to talk packaging; and if we can’t answer your question on the spot, we have no problem going to our manufacturing department to ask.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you for making us your supplier of quality Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers!