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Active Packaging

Friday, July 13, 2012

Active Packaging is an innovative concept that can be defined as a mode of packaging in which the package, the product, and the environment interact to prolong shelf life or enhance safety or sensory properties, while maintaining the quality of the product. In recent years, the major driving forces for innovation in food packaging technology have been the increase in consumer demand for minimally processed foods, the change in retail and distribution practices associated with globalization, new consumer product logistics, new distribution trends (such as Internet shopping), automatic handling systems at distribution centers, and stricter requirements regarding consumer health and safety. Active Packaging (AP) technologies are being developed as a result of these driving forces. Active Packaging Systems are developed with the goal of extending shelf life for foods and increasing the period of time that the food is high quality.


Active packaging changes the condition of the packed foods with the use of the incorporation of certain additives into the packaging films or inside the packaging headspaces so as to extend the product's shelf life. In some cases, it also changes the package's permeation properties and/or the concentration of different volatiles and gases in the package headspace during storage. Moreover, this packaging technique actively adds, in small amounts, antimicrobial, antioxidative or other quality improving agents via the packaging materials into the packed food.

Active packaging also plays a role in food preservation other than just providing an inert barrier to the external conditions. Active packaging techniques can be divided into two categories. The first category is absorbers or scavengers, where the systems remove undesired compounds such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, ethylene, and excessive water. The second category is the releasing systems, which actively adds or emits compounds to the packaged foods or into the headspace of the package - such as carbon dioxide, antioxidants and preservatives.


·         Antimicrobial  packaging

·         Ethylene scavenging packaging

·         Oxygen scavenging packaging

·         Carbon dioxide scavenging or release

·         Humidity buffering films and liquid water removal

·         Modified atmospheric packaging

·         Aroma and odours removal


Rapid technology changes are leading to exciting developments in the active and modified atmosphere packaging market. The increasing demand for fresh and quality packaged food, consumer convenience and manufacturer concern for longer shelf life of the food products is driving the market for Global active and smart packaging technology for food and beverage market. The global market for active packaging technology for food and beverage is expected to grow to $23.474 million in 2015, at an estimated CAGR of 8.2% from 2010 to 2015. Active and intelligent systems are a branch of packaging that is truly innovative and offers exciting opportunities for food safety, quality and convenience. Modified atmosphere packaging commands the largest share of the overall active and smart packaging technology in terms of value, while smart and intelligent packaging technology is witnessing the fastest growth at an estimated CAGR of 12.1%. Active and smart packaging technology offers tremendous potential to fulfil the growing demand of food safety in various applications which include dairy products, meat and poultry, ready to eat meal segment. In active packaging, oxygen scavengers and moisture absorbers form the two largest product segments. Both are estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8% and 11.9% respectively.

Active packaging is an emerging and exciting area of food technology that can confer many preservation benefits on a wide range of food products. Active packaging is a technology developing a new trust because of recent advances in packaging, material science, biotechnology and new consumer demands. The objectives of this technology are to maintain sensory quality and extend the shelf-life of foods whilst at the same time maintaining nutritional quality and ensuring microbial safety. However, ultimately, active packaging must benefit and be accepted by consumers before it is more widely adopted. Also, active packaging must not be driven by technological possibilities but rather by meeting real market needs. Nevertheless, the use of active packaging is becoming increasingly popular and many new opportunities in the food and non-food industries will open up for utilising this technology in the future.

Source: NPCS Team

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