From biodegradable material made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shells, to QR Codes, ThermoChromic Inks and Nano antioxidants for a longer shelf life more needs to be done to highlight advancements in technology.
Speaking ahead of the AIP (Active & Intelligent Packaging World Congress & Exhibition) in Germany, Andrew Manly, communications director, AIPIA (Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association) said ‘awareness of what is out there and what can be done is crucial to our industry’.
“Certain food packaging can look a bit dated but because of regulatory ruling you are told what to put on the pack and you have to adhere to that,” he said.
“One of the good things about QRT and RFID tagging is that rather than having a lot of information on the pack itself, consumers can download it to free up space on the box for design.
“There is obviously a serious side to take into consideration; reducing waste, tracking things through their supply chain and anti-counterfeit devices but there is definitely an interesting and different world of packaging going on out there and some of it will come sooner than later but it’s certainly not boring.”
The theme of the AIPIA congress is ‘Packaging Technology as the New Marketing Tool’ and guests include MacDonalds, Nestle, Bayer, Barilla and Warburton’s as well as blue chip packagers like Stora Enso, Dupont, Crown, Avery Dennison and Amcor.
Exhibitors include Albis Plastic, Altana, Avery Dennison, BHR Group, Bridget Inc, Near Field Solutions, NovaCentrix, Smartrac and ThinFilm.
“It’s about creating new forms and levels of use for packaging in both marketing and food preservation. More needs to be done to drive imaginative packaging,” added Manly.
“For example, a recent survey by Pitney Bowes reported QR code usage in the US in 2012 rose to 19%, up from 5% the year before. With plenty of untapped potential to use the device to enhance consumer interaction, Crown Closures North America is helping brands incorporate the codes by using the billboard space under the cap.
“Scientists from ETH Zurich have also developed a nanomaterial that protects other molecules from oxidation. Unlike existing active substances,this antioxidant has a long shelf life, which makes it ideal for industrial applications.”
He added manufacturers can bring fun to packaging by using their imagination but the science has to be applied and it has to be economically viable.
Manly said Norwegian food research institute Nofima is participating in an EU-financed project where ‘active’ packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products and after use the packaging biodegrades.
“In the n-CHITOPACK project researchers are looking at biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shells that will improve and conserve food products,” said Manly.
“Products range from hard bioplastic, which is said to be just as robust as other plastics, to thin film that can come in direct contact with food products.”
Other highlights include OxySense, which specialises in non-invasive optical oxygen analyzers and permeation testing instruments for packaging industries, which has added the BottlePerm Fixture to its range of permeation/oxygen transmission rate (OTR) accessories.
This fixture allows bottle, cork, cap and closure, as well as plastic cup manufacturers to run permeation/OTR measurements.
The AIP Congress is held from September 23-25, 2013, in Nuremberg, Germany.