The active packaging is a packaging material that interacts with the atmosphere present inside a package, by varying the qualitative and quantitative headspace composition (oxygen, carbon dioxide, ethylene), or with the product contained in it by the release of antimicrobial or antioxidant compounds. The active packaging can be used to improve the quality of the food, preventing degradation phenomena of microbiological, enzymatic and chemico-physical origin and preserving in the best way the organoleptic and nutritional properties of the products for consumption.
Production and implementation of new packaging solutions for food.
Principle of operation
The principle of operation and «active» interaction between packaging and product depends on the type of material considered and functionality attributed to the packaging. It is possible to realize packaging capable of absorbing oxygen based on the use of ferrous metals or moisture thanks to the presence of clay materials, namely packaging able to adjust the headspace composition thanks to special barrier properties and/or permeability.
The know-how of ProdAl includes:
- the theoretical knowledge of the morphology of the polymers for the formulation of new materials and structures suitable for the production of active films
- the knowledge of the processes of transformation of materials and production of active polymer films
- the availability of previous studies on certain materials and foodstuffs and analytical methods for the characterization of packaging.
Have been identified plant and animal products for which packaging solutions already implemented can be reasonably proposed.
Technological benchmark vs state of the art
The packaging is an element of enhancement products that can be distinguished by functionality, level of service, comfort and intended use. From the technological point of view is a strategic element, which influences the shelf life and the properties to the consumption of the product. The companies require packaging solutions that meet precise quality standards and comply with the requirements arising from technological innovations and market needs. The design and implementation of innovative packaging requires multidisciplinary skills and an integrated knowledge and thorough understanding of materials, processes of transformation and the intended use of packaging. In the field of semi-rigid and flexible packaging, specific properties (antimicrobial, antioxidant, etc.) are conferred to the package in order to promote the interaction between packaging and product (active packaging). Currently active packaging have been tested for prolonging the shelf life of meat products and vegetables to be used in combination and/or in alternative to the MAP packaging.
- Stability of the headspace composition of the package and extend the shelf life of the food.
- Use of recycled materials for packaging.
- Use of recyclable and biodegradable materials.
- Additives and reinforcing materials eco-friendly.
- No heavy metals and solvents.
- Need to analyze all the legal aspects related to the food safety and suitability.
- Limits of the use of certain components for the realization of materials intended for contact with food.
Stage of development of ProdAl
There are packaging prototypes to be tested on food products.
ProdAl has facilities on pilot scale (5 layer co-extruders, packaging systems) and tools for chemical analysis and physico-mechanical and morphological characterizations of packaging materials.
Therefore, it is able to offer assistance in the planning and implementation of new packaging solutions, in determining the characteristics and intended use of the new packaging and in testing of packaging in conventional and innovative treatments.
Agri-food companies and packaging industry
Forms of collaboration
- Agreements for the prototyping and the market launch of new packaging solutions.
- Consulting for the evaluation of the quality and shelf life of new products according to the characteristics of the packaging.
- Consultations on the industrial exploitation of the innovative packaging solution.