Paul Barker, product manager-NatureFlex, was defending findings from a recent study that showed shelf-life of the firm’s NatureFlex brand was shorter than that of its conventional BOPP film.
Findings showed the BOPP film had a six day longer shelf-life under accelerated conditions (38°C and 90% Relative Humidity (RH)) and two more under normal storage conditions of 20°C and 75% RH. (See HERE)
“The most important finding of this independent study is that it validates that we have achieved the required properties to essentially match a conventional packaging film by reaching shelf-life protection to within two days of the standard, by using our latest generation NatureFlex product N913. That is more than 99% overall,” Barker told BakeryandSnacks.com.
BOPP is an oil-based product, developed in 1952, he said; “NatureFlex is still in its infancy by comparison and already it is challenging conventional films by offering comparable performance as proven by this study.”
“This study is very one- dimensional, looking at shelf-life and mapping according to potential barrier. Other factors such as seal integrity are not considered. It does not appreciate nor address the challenges of using bio-materials to achieve the technical properties of widely used plastic films and as such misses out on some key findings.”
Bio-based films by nature can be affected to some degree by high temperatures and humidity due to their ability to biodegrade, Barker said, and accelerated shelf-life testing is therefore in many cases not a suitable indicator of performance.
“Accelerated shelf-life tests need to ensure they reflect and can be transposed into real time. Both packaging and packaged product has an impact on how effective this approach is and results should be taken along with all the other critical factors which can affect the outcome. Ultimately, the best approach is to carry out real time testing.”
R&D ensures a close match
“At Innovia Films, our challenge with the NatureFlex products is to match the performance of conventional plastics, while ensuring that we still have a packaging film that is renewable and will compost according to the recognized standards,” Barker said.
NatureFlex was first conceptualized in the late 90s and launched in 2004. Innovia Films has since injected R&D efforts into the brand and developed several editions and generations; the latest being N913.
“Due to this constant development process, Innovia’s NatureFlex now offers the highest moisture, gas and aroma barrier of any compostable renewable packaging film available,” the product manager said.
“There are still further developments ongoing which will offer even higher barriers for the future,” he added.