“Chance favours the prepared mind.” When famous French microbiologist Louis Pasteur first uttered this now famous saying well over a century ago, he was obviously not referring to the food packaging industry! Back in the mid-1800s, that wasn’t even a thing. But the comment is nevertheless highly relevant to the industry as new technology is coming to the fore all the time. Those companies that are prepared and ready to embrace it will definitely come to the fore.
Food Packaging Trends
Food packaging companies all over the world are investing vast amounts of time, money and scientific and technical expertise into improving food safety and extending shelf-life through intelligent packaging. Their innovations and discoveries are showcased to the world at packaging summits, fairs and expos throughout the year. The most recent of these was the Food Packaging Summit, held in the Netherlands on December 7, at which PerfoTec’s Commercial Director, Ivo Hendricks was one of the speakers. The Summit highlighted some exciting trends to watch out for in 2018 and beyond, and focussed on the role of packaging in shelf life extension.
Here are some of the most interesting trends to watch out for in the near future:
Smart packaging uses programmable nanotechnology and smart materials to give food packaging the ability to actually sense certain properties of the product concerned. Research engineers at Berkeley, for example, have developed a 3D-printed cap for milk cartons. This smart cap has sensors embedded into it that can detect if the milk has gone sour. And researchers at Clarkson University in the US have developed a portable, paper-based and inexpensive label that can tell if food is spoiled or contaminated. In some instances, information regarding the condition of food packaged in smart packaging can be sent to affected parties by way of a smartphone app!
Shelf Life Extension
Although this isn’t a new trend, the way it’s predicted to be used in the near future is changing continually. Food waste is a growing concern the world over, and there are many initiatives already underway to improve food safety and reduce waste. Many of these focus on educating consumers so that they better understand shelf life. One way researchers are hoping to achieve this is through building in freshness sensors to food packs to alert customers as to the freshness of the food they’re buying. This helps them see when it’s safe to consume food, which will hopefully avoid instances of throwing away food that is still good to eat, as well as reducing excessive buying.
Up To Speed
At the 2017 Pack Expo, held in Las Vegas, Australian company TNA launched the world’s fastest case packer for flexible bags, capable of packing 300 bags per minute using the company’s patented semi-rotary bag stacking technology. This was just one of the many exciting innovations revealed during the Expo, which enjoyed a record attendance of almost 30 000 people.
There’s no doubt that innovations in food packaging will continue to change the way our food is packaged, transported and stored. At Mapflex, we always have our finger firmly on the pulse of the packaging industry. You can trust that we will continue to bring you the latest in available technology to ensure the food you grow and pack reaches your customers virtually as fresh as the moment it was picked.
To find out more about how you can take advantage of our game-changing packaging for your fresh produce, chat to us today.