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Technology | active packaging


Making packaging active


Packaging can do more than provide passive protection for the goods it holds and instead actively extend shelf-life or improve quality—particularly for food—by using additives to change the environment inside the package. Additive technologies embedded in the polymer or in coatings can include antimicrobials, flavour absorbers, oxygen scavengers, moisture scavengers, and additives that scavenge or emit (depending on the need of the packaging) ethylene or carbon dioxide. Active packaging can also include temperature-controlled packaging. And as the Internet of Things expands and provides greater connectivity, intelligent packaging using radio-frequency identifica- tion (RFID) tags and smart labels (among other technologies) may help improve quality and traceability or enhance a consumer’s interaction with a brand.


Targeting waste Reducing global food waste is one of the foremost challenges of today. Increasingly, people are beginning to recognise that packaging can play a role in reducing waste and improving food safety. In addition, changes in the food industry are driving a need for improved


www.compoundingworld.com Demands from the food industry for


longer shelf-life and reduced product wastage are driving development of active packaging. Jennifer Markarian reviews how additive technologies are being used


packaging. “The trend is for foods made with more natural ingredients and fewer preservatives, less sugar, and unsaturated fatty acids rather than saturated. Because these foods are more sensitive to oxidation and microbial growth, packaging must provide greater protection,” says Sven Saengerlaub, business field manager for packaging at Fraunhofer IVV in Germany. Organic wine, for example, cannot be stabilised with sulphides as is the case with traditional non-organic product, so the packaging (a bag-in-a-box, for instance) must be more protective, says Roland Schultz, Global


Main image: Barrier films are a prime potential


application


area for active additives such as scavengers


October 2016 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 29


PHOTO: ROBERT KNESCHKE/SHUTTERSTOCK


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