A new study conducted by NanoPack Project has revealed that consumers are looking for nanotechnology-based active packaging solutions in the food industry.

The research, funded by the European Union, was conducted by organising ten focus groups and taking interviews with consumers and retail managers in European and Asian countries such as China, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Ireland.

The project focused on finding how end-users perceive nanotechnology and its benefits and collected opinions related to the acceptance of new active food packaging technologies among consumers and retailers.

According to research, consumers are more concerned about the essential oils used and the active nature of unfamiliar nanotechnology.

They also expressed their concerns about food products getting contaminated or altered after the active component enters the packaging atmosphere.

Aarhus University of Denmark associate professor Polymeros Chrysochou and assistant professor Alexandra Festila conducted the research.

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“Extending the shelf-life of a product and keeping its freshness seems to be a contradiction in consumers’ minds.”

Chrysochou said: “The benefits of active packaging solutions are not always aligned in consumer minds. So, for example, extending the shelf-life of a product and keeping its freshness seems to be a contradiction in consumers’ minds.

“Freshness is a rather vague promised benefit and people have different interpretations of it. They may perceive it in terms of the time passed from the production, where a shorter time equates a fresher food product.

“This means that consumers do not see a product with an extended shelf life as being necessarily fresh since a longer time has passed since production.”

The research also revealed that retailers are more concerned about the product meeting safety criteria in the new technologies and, if met, they are ready to align the technology with the strategy and internal processes of the company.