Active packaging is much more than just a package that covers and protects the item inside the package. Active packaging interacts with the items and the atmosphere inside of the package, when it comes to food packaging. The package and the product inside interact in some way and can communicate information back to a computer program or system about the condition of the product inside of the active package.
Active packaging is generally used in the packaging of perishable food items. The active package interacts chemically or biologically with the food inside. This can help to extend the life of the food product or to help maintain the quality and freshness of the food for the longest period of time it can.
Below are a few top trends we have seen in active packaging throughout the last few years. We also expect to see quite a lot of advancement in the up and coming new year in regard to active packaging and the preservation of food freshness.
When oxygen is present in the package of a food item, it can have devastating effects on the food inside of the package. The food can lose some of its nutritional value, can change color, can change flavor, and mold has the opportunity to grow.
Eliminating or reducing the levels of oxygen in packaged foods can help keep the food fresher for longer, especially when it comes to fruits and veggies. The food can essentially be preserved for a longer period of time.
Therefore, an active packaging technology has become a popular food packaging trend in recent years. Oxygen scavengers are placed in the packaging of the food item and can absorb oxygen, so the food stays fresh for longer and does not lose color, nutrition, etc.
Antimicrobial agents stop the growth of microorganisms on the food inside of the food packaging. This new tech trend in active food packaging is saving heaps of food from rotting, going to waste, and being thrown out.
Antimicrobial agents in the active package can either be admitted directly onto the surface of the food in the package or can be gradually diffused from the package on the inside and then onto the food.
Another big trend we have seen is companies adding technologies to the active plastic packaging itself. This means that instead of a pad or sachet that goes into the package to absorb oxygen or microbials, the plastic that encloses a product has the technology built right inside.
For instance, cheese packaged in tight plastic wrap cannot contain a bulky pad or sachet. Therefore, active packaging comes into play by making the tight plastic wrap with an oxygen-absorbing polymer build right into the plastic wrap.
The cheese can be kept fresher for a much longer period of time and there is no need to change the physical appearance of the packaging or make it much larger and more wasteful than it needs to be.