An exciting new packaging development project has commenced, seeking the creation of a biodegradable, multi-layered packaging for dried food applications. The project is being led by Hatzopoulos S.A, a Greece based SME in the field of flexible packaging. This new collaborative project has been supported by €1.2 million of funding from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme.
The bio-based alternative to the current solutions available for Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) will provide a cost-effective and fully recyclable solution to the dried food industry. The commercial drive for such a product is provided by the growing global demand for dried foods. Dried food has many advantages such as cheaper transportation costs, longer storage life and ease of use. The tailor-made BioActiveLayer material will also maintain product quality and assure food safety, providing a shelf-life of up to 24 months.
The BioActiveLayer project plans to enhance the novel paper-based, bio-degradable, multi-layer structure by increasing the paper moisture barrier (by applying blends of waxes and resins). The main moisture barrier improvement will rely on a composite based in PHA. Currently PHA lacks the barrier required for MAP applications; therefore, composites with mineral fillers and oxygen barrier materials will be developed to obtain a moisture barrier layer.
Dr Lefteris Tourasanidis, Project Coordinator within Hatzopoulos S.A, said: “Dried food is forecasted to rapidly grow in popularity, possibly due to its ability to be transported cheaply, its longer storage life, and ease of consumption. Another area of concern is the similar rise in associated waste levels.”
“A 5% substitution of the materials used in existing MAP applications would reduce the 300,000 tons of non-renewable plastic packaging that is currently being disposed of across Europe. Our aim is to successfully introduce a completely renewable and biodegradable packaging solution that will maintain freshness and cut such high levels of packaging waste.”
The BioActiveLayer consortium commenced their work on 1st September 2013. This project carries a multinational representation and will continue for 2 years. The partners involved are A. Hatzopoulos S.A. (Flexible Packaging), Nuevas Tecnicas de Coloracion SL (Chemical Compounding), Skymark Packaging International Limited (Packaging Films), Belourthe S.A. (Producer of Baby Food Cereals), Plusfresc (Spanish Supermarket Chain), Instituto Tecnologico del Embalaje, Transporte y Logistica, Wageningen University and the UK Materials Research Institute.