Tom Egan | Marrying food safety and sustainabilityAugust 29, 2018
Over the last decade, as sustainability has become a priority, we have asked even more of our packaging materials.
Companies are spending more on packaging made of sustainable materials, including recycled corrugated cardboard, high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) and recycled polyethylene (rPET) film, according to the 2017 PMMI State of the Industry US Packaging Machinery Report produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
When considering sustainability and thinner materials, food companies must look for solutions that allow the package to do what it needs to do: protect the product. Part of sustainability of food packaging is lightweight, more sustainable materials. The other part is keeping food fresh and protected throughout the supply chain, reducing food waste.
Safety is non-negotiable for every food manufacturer and retailer. Packaging innovations like oxygen scavengers and temperature indicators offer solutions to increase shelf life of food products. These technologies provide an ideal solution for food manufactures prioritizing safety and working towards reducing their ecological footprint.
Innovations in sustainability
The past few years have seen great advancement in technology and nanomaterials for tracking products throughout the supply chain, verification of the authenticity of products and brand protection. Supply chain traceability in particular has seen great growth.
Companies like FoodLogiQ offer software that allows full farm-to-fork traceability when combined with packaging serialization. As consumers, we trust that our food supply moves through the supply chain safely. Supply chain traceability technology makes it easier for food companies to ensure their products remain safe and to react quickly to product recalls.
Fresh and perishable food products can benefit from the use of temperature indicators to ensure customers are receiving products at their optimal quality.
These indicators track a food’s temperature history and change color, showing how long food is still consumable. For example, Freshpoint produces temperature indicators that change color faster at higher temperatures, and labels that can be adjusted for the shelf-life of various foods.
The company also offers a mobile app, which consumers can use to determine the remaining shelf-life of their product. This helps ensure consumer safety and also prevents disposal of food that is still consumable.
Oxygen absorbers and scavengers are another solution for companies that want to boost sustainability by reducing food waste. Companies like MultiSorb, Clariant and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical produce oxygen absorbing technology that protects food products from spoilage, mold, color and flavor change and loss of nutritional value.
Oxygen absorbers have applications across food categories – Multisorb’s FreshPax and Clariant’s Oxy-Guard™ packets and strips work well with dry packaged…