Food Packaging Research Group
Innovative and sustainable packaging materials and processes for safe, high quality food.
The main goal of the Food Packaging Research Group is to develop innovative and sustainable packaging materials and processes to ensure that food is of high quality and safe.
Packaging plays an important role in maintaining food quality from production to consumption. Two important trends are currently driving the development of packaging materials: the trend in consumer preferences for minimally processed food without preservatives; and the demand for sustainable packaging products. In order to satisfy the needs of these trends, we develop innovative and sustainable packaging materials in close cooperation with food and packaging manufacturers.
Innovative Packaging Materials
Active and intelligent packaging is an example an innovative packaging technology. In contrast to traditional packaging materials, active packaging can play a further role, in addition to the passive barrier function, that ensures the quality of the food is maintained. Intelligent or smart packages allow the current quality status of a foodstuff to be monitored and communicated to the outside. In close collaboration with industry partners, we develop innovative active packaging materials such as:
- Oxygen scavengers
- Antimicrobial films
- Antioxidant releasers
Development and Optimization of Food Packaging Processes
Determining the most suitable packaging process depends on the type of food. At the Food Packaging Research Group, we work closely with the food and packaging industries and support them by:
- applying existing processes to new applications
- optimising packaging processes to better preserve the quality of food
- developing new packaging processes for existing or new products
Biopackaging is made from renewable and/or biodegradable resources and can replace conventional packaging materials. However, technological properties of bioplastics often do not fulfil the desired performance criteria for application as a primary packaging material in the food industry. At the Food Packaging Research Group, we work on the development of bio-based packaging materials and in close cooperation with various food and packaging manufacturers optimise processes for their application in food packaging.
Shelf Life Simulation
Shelf life of food is very complex and depends on different factors. In addition to the food’s intrinsic properties, packaging also plays an important role. At the Food Packaging Research Group, we are developing a shelf life simulation programme to simulate the shelf life of various packaged food products. This tool will enable the influence of each individual factor, such as packaging design, material and process to be simulated so that the packaging can be optimised for a targeted shelf life. Possible applications of such a tool will be:
- Optimisation of packaging materials
- Evaluation of alternative packaging materials
- Definition of suitable packaging for a targeted shelf life
- Definition of packaging for new products
- Optimisation of packaging process and storage conditions
1st International Food Engineering Congress, Antalya, Turkey, 7-9 November 2019.
ENEXPRO Exporter Meeting, Puerto Varas, Chile, 15 October 2019.
3rd Packaging Innovation Day, Santiago, Chile, 10 October 2019.
Trends in Food Science & Technology.
Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2018.08.006
Cerqueira, Miguel Ângelo; Lagaron, Jose Maria; Pastrana Castro, Lorenzo Miguel; Vicente, António Augusto, eds.,
Nanomaterials for food packaging : materials, processing technologies, and safety issues.
Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-51271-8.00007-3
Strategies to reduce food loss and valorize side streams in food industry: buildup of an industrial consortium
Calcium carbonate based active packaging
The aim of this project is to develop antimicrobial and oxygen scavenging materials for food packaging applications. Both antimicrobial and oxygen scavenging functions will be developed using ground or modified calcium carbonate which has a very high potential to incorporate active ingredients into packaging and to control the release of such ...
BIOPAC (Biopolymer based bioactive food packaging)
The aim of this project is to design and investigate new biopolymer systems as carriers of natural bioactive compounds with antioxidant and/or antimicrobial properties, to apply them for food packaging and assess their performance. The polysaccharide matrices will be obtained by the means of chemical modification of natural polysaccharides. ...
Optilfel has as its ultimate goal to contribute to elders’ health by combating denutrition due to both physical capacities diminution and appetite loss. The concept of Optifel is to translate the knowledge on nutritional needs, food preferences and physical capacities into accurate specifications for food products and packaging. Food products ...
Further confidential industry projects