Active, intelligent and smart packaging

To understand what active, intelligent and smart packaging have to offer the world of packaging, it is important to clarify the meaning of each of these definitions.

 

Let’s go back to talking about the shelf-life of packaged foods, this time focusing on the technologies that allow us to extend food storage times as much as possible. Obviously, any improvement in the quality and durability of the product starts from the production conditions, in particular from the selection and management of raw materials, from the control of each processing phase, from the processing temperatures and of storage and – no less important – from the hygiene of the company establishment.

But the shelf-life depends also and above all on an adequate packaging of the produce that serves as protection from various factors such as light, humidity and oxygen, which could interfere with its quality and duration.

In addition to the best known preservation methods such as vacuum packing, modified atmosphere packaging and the use of food additives (preservatives, stabilizers, antioxidants, etc.), solutions such as the use of “active packaging” “intelligent packaging” and “smart packaging” are increasingly widespread on the market, useful in the fresh fruit and vegetables trade.

 

 

Active packaging is a type of packaging with an “active” role in food preservation, able to interact with the product or the surrounding environment. This can act by gradually releasing substances (such as natural essential oils with antimicrobial capacity) with a stabilizing action on certain processes such as antioxidants and preservatives, or “capturing” unwanted substances such as moisture or ethylene.

 

Intelligent packaging is able to provide information on storage conditions or the quality of the food contained; through indicators it arrives, for example, to directly inform the user about the level of deterioration and safety of the food contained. An example are particular inks that react to temperature and thus detect climatic conditions such as heat and humidity.

 

Smart packaging, on the other hand, guarantees alternative use conditions, so that the consumer can benefit from them more. For example, some containers have special valves capable of expelling CO2 or steam in the case of microwaved food in the original packaging.

 

 

However, we must point out that the selection and use of these new types of packaging does not eliminate the variant according to which the commercial life of the product is considered valid only and exclusively if the product is purchased with intact packaging and the final consumer follows the instructions of conservation indicated to ensure that the added value of the packaging is not totally inhibited.

If you want to renew the packaging for your fruit and vegetable produce by improving the shelf life, contact us! We will help you in choosing the most suitable material for your new packaging!

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