DSM patent aims for shelf life benefits

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Process for increasing shelf life of food product detailed in patent
Process for increasing shelf life of food product detailed in patent
DSM has filed a patent for a packaging material for food, feed and agricultural products to increase shelf life.

The company, which also has health and nutrition arms, said the material is capable of breathing at a rate that maintains a desired mix of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapour inside the packaging system.

The patent details that there is a need for suitable packaging materials for storing food, feed or agricultural products that improve and extend the quality and shelf-life of the products.

The invention relates to the use of a packaging system for storage of a product, which comprises a packaging material of a thermoplastic, monolithic film and having a water vapour transmission rate of at least 10g/m2​.day.atm at 10°C and 85% relative humidity and an oxygen permeability of at most 100cc/m2​.

Packaging use

The patent, published last month, cites one example where the packaging (described above) may be applied as a patch over a punched hole in a standard packaging system.

“Furthermore, the packaging material can be applied as a patch and/or label on various base formats such as for example a tray-lid, vertical form-fill-seal (VFFS) or horizontal, form fill and seal (HFFS). It can also be applied as a flat film wrapped around the product while sealing in longitudinal direction and thereafter in transversal direction (i.e. flow-wrap technology).”

After the product has been packaged into the packaging system it is closed, preferably by heat sealing.

Corstiaan Johannes Hooft, Baukje Folkertsma and Alexander Antonius Marie Stroeks wrote in the patent background that prior approaches can have disadvantages.

They identified antimicrobial substances added to food before packaging, or polymeric foods with integrated antimicrobial properties, or a sachet with a humectant material being included in the packaging to absorb water.

For example, antimicrobial substances may alter the taste and/or appearance of food, feed or agricultural products. The use of separate sachets is undesirable, as the sachets may become damaged and consequently can form a health risk to consumers.

“Furthermore, the specific packaging materials…need additional handling or have complicated production processes and are thus undesirable from an economic point of view.”

Shelf life or quality could be affected in high barrier packages as the accumulation of water vapour brings about an increase in the aerobic biologic activity in the packaged food.

Example results

The patent cites an example in the storage of fresh white mushrooms that were cut into slices and packed in different packaging materials.

The results demonstrate that the mushroom slices packed in the packaging material according to the invention showed no water drop formation on the interior surface after 28 days of storage, while the mushroom slices packed in the standard packaging material (non-perforated as well as perforated) showed water drop formation already after two days of storage.

“Moreover, the results demonstrate that less than 25% of the mushroom slices packed in the packaging material according to the present invention started to show brown spots after 16 days of storage, while mushroom slices packed in standard packaging material (perforated as well as non-perforated) started to show brown spots already after two days of storage,”​ reported the inventors in the patent.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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