The Future of Food Packaging
With more people becoming conscious of the environment, it’s important to know where the food packaging industry will end up in the future. From new technologies being introduced to some common packaging methods being scrapped forever, we shall look at how the future of the food packaging industry could evolve.
Completely Compostable Packaging
Sustainable packaging developer, TIPA, have recently launched their brand new sustainable food packaging but there is one big difference between the new packaging and its predecessor; it is now able to decompose completely within a six-month period.
The packaging itself was designed so that it would biologically decompose after a certain period of time. When it came down to testing the new packaging, TIPA found that it decomposed after a period of 24 weeks, after which it became fertiliser for the soil.
The great point about this new packaging is that it is just as transparent, impermeable and durable as ordinary plastic packaging, paving a way for a new type of packaging that will be more beneficial for the environment.
The product that TIPA have developed is part of the laminate series, which is designed to package various foods and snacks including crisps, granola bars and dried fruits. They have also developed additional compostable packaging, such as standalone cast films, that are sealable and can be used to package freshly baked goods.
In the future, plastic packaging may be obsolete, resulting in a world where all packaging is completely degradable and there are no health or animal risks associated with them.
Packaging That Keeps Food for Longer
One important aspect of food packaging that companies strive to achieve is a long shelf life; not in the sense that it can stay on the shelf forever, but in the sense that it could be a way to reduce wasted food.
Scientists in Singapore working for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, also known as A*STAR, have invented a new type of plastic packaging that will keep food fresh for longer. At the moment, the plastic isn’t perfectly biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean that, in the future, it will become perfectly biodegradable.
The packaging has been developed so that, by tweaking, it can perform three functions depending on what the company wants. One function is known as ‘inert packaging’ and it is engineered to keep out oxygen, moisture and harmful UV rays; this packaging helps to decrease the rate of ripening and decomposition.
Another function known as ‘active packaging’ contains elements that absorb oxygen, moisture and ethylene; a compound produced by fruit and vegetables that cause them to ripen. The final function is known as ‘intelligent food packaging’, which can indicate if the food is still edible or if the packaging has lost some of its structural integrity.
In a future that will need packaging to be more environmentally friendly than ever before, the combination of these two technologies would be a vital component of ensuring that food products are not being wasted, people are not throwing away perfectly edible food, and ensuring that the packing itself is not damaging to the environment and animal health.
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