European consortium to develop new food packaging material

24 February 2013 (Last Updated February 24th, 2013 18:30)

A thermoplastics wood-fibre based packaging material is being developed by the European ADCELLPACK consortium for trays primarily used in packages of sliced cheese.

A thermoplastics wood-fibre based packaging material is being developed by the European ADCELLPACK consortium for trays primarily used in packages of sliced cheese.

The new material, which is being created as an alternative to the use of oil-based packaging materials in food packaging, will be developed by Centros Comerciales Carrefour, Distribuciones Juan Luna, Papelera de Brandia, Elastopoli Oy, Skymark and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, with ITENE as a coordinator.

According to VTT, the solution is said to maintain the freshness of a product and assure its food contact safety.

The packaging material will be designed to suit modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), the technique that offers an increased shelf life to the product and is used to preserve fresh foods.

Atmospheric air inside the package is replaced with the desired gas mixture in the MAP technique.

The two-year ADCELLPACK project started at the beginning of November 2012 with a budget of €1.4m, and is financed by the EU.

The consortium is based on a group of four SMEs – Distribuciones Juan Luna (Spain), Papelera de Brandia (Spain), Elastopoli Oy (Finland), and Skymark Packaging International (UK); Centros Comerciales Carrefour (Spain); and two research centres – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and ITENE Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center (Spain).

Common MAP packaging structures, which are based on non-renewable multilayer materials, are tough to recycle.

Bio-based materials are used in the packaging industry for reducing the environmental impact and the use of non-renewable resources.

Cellulose-based materials could be a better alternative to substitute materials that are used in MAP at present, VTT noted.