Focusing on supply chain stewardship and regulatory oversight of the industry, the studies will be sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Nanotechnology is the manipulation of materials at near atomic scales to create new processes, materials and devices. Food, packaging and a host of other products can benefit from the technology, which can be used to increase shelf life, strengthen products and improve nutritional content. According to Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), some experts estimate that the worldwide nanotechnology food market will be $20.4 billion by 2010. In a report published last month, Consultants Helmut Kaiser estimate nanotechnology will change 25 per cent of the food packaging market, currently worth $100bn (€74bn), in the decade to follow. However, there is considerable public apprehension about the potential harmful effects harnessing nanotechnology could have on people and the environment. The first study will focus on a hypothetical nano packaging product, and make a critical evaluation of the benefits and risks associated with its commercialization. Pat Verduin, senior vice president and chief science officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said the organization hoped to gain some insights into how the technology could be used in business. "Engineered nanoscale materials could have some very promising applications for our industry, but before we can take advantage of these applications, we must have better insights into the commercialization and regulation of these materials. Woodrow Wilson offers advice business, government and the public to anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents many of the world's leading food, beverage and consumer products companies.