• Self-Healing Nanofiber Time-Temperature Indicator for Securing Cold Chains


    Their research was published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials IF:25.809 earlier this year: "A Self-Healing Nanofiber-Based Self-Responsive Time-Temperature Indicator for Securing a Cold-Supply Chain." This cold-chain safety sticker creates an image on it when exposed to room temperature (10 0C or higher). Room temperature exposure history and time throughout the cold chain delivery process are indicated but cannot be manually edited. When refrigerated or frozen foods are exposed to room temperature, usually bacteria begin to grow and reproduce. However, it is difficult to see visually as certain bacteria do not affect the taste and smell of foods and frozen foods have almost the same appearance even after melting and refreezing. The core technology of the cold-chain safety sticker is nanofibre film. The researchers attempted to attach a typical film on the back of this newly developed film. At low temperatures, the nanofibre film has a stable structure where thin threads intersect each other, making it opaque because the light is scattered. When exposed to room temperature for a period of time, this structure collapses. Specifically, the thin threads start to melt and become entangled with each other. This allows light to transmit through the film, making it appear transparent. Then the image produced on the typical film on the back becomes visible from the front, showing that the food may have spoiled. The researchers found a way to control the time that is required for the film to become transparent when exposed to room temperature, accounting for variations in spoilage times of different foods. So each sticker was designed to become transparent after a minimum of 30m and a maximum of 24 hours of exposure. This was achieved by controlling the composition and thickness of the nanofibres. Dr Dongyeop Oh from the KRICT said, "This sticker, once exposed to room temperature, cannot be restored to its original state, even if one attempts to refrigerate or freeze it again. Also, room-temperature exposure time cannot be manually adjusted. This means that there is virtually no room for any manipulation." “It does not require modularization, accurately measures localized or gradient heat and functions even after crushing, cutting, and when weight?loaded in a manner that existing TTIs cannot. It also contains no drainable chemicals and is attachable to various shapes because it operates through an intrinsic physical response,” he added. The cold-chain safety sticker can be widely used not only for food product applications but also for the cold-chain distribution of expensive medicine and medical supplies, they say. This is because the sticker is thin and flexible. It is estimated manufacturing cost is low at one cent per unit.

  • Smurfit Kappa announces USD33 million investment in Fortaleza, Brazil

    Investment will expand capacity and innovation capability at its production site in Ceará

    Smurfit Kappa, one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging solutions in the world, has announced an investment of over USD33 million in Brazil to expand the capacity of its plant in Fortaleza to meet the growing demand for innovative and sustainable packaging. 

  • Bananas in pyjamas: Scientists develop ecological coating for freshness


    Stretching shelf life

    EMPA’s cellulose coating guarantees freshness for fruit and vegetables, with produce remaining fresh “significantly longer” than without the coating.

    “In tests, the shelf life of, for instance, bananas was extended by more than a week. This significantly reduces food waste,” says Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa lab.

    Innova Market Insights indicates 60% of global consumers are willing to compromise shelf life to reduce plastic packaging and 56% of global consumers would compromise product protection to reduce plastic used in packaging. Bananas with and without EMPA’s coating in a shelf life test.

    However, the market researcher also indicates more than half (64%) of global consumers agree with the statement that making a product more environmentally sustainable should not reduce the packaging performance. 

    “The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future,” says Nyström.

    Production process

    The coating’s production includes processing “pomace” into fibrillated cellulose.

    “Pomace is the solid residue left over after extracting the juice from fruit, vegetables or plants,” explains Nyström.

    Traditionally, this plant “leftover” was disposed of in biogas plants or directly on the field but, in the future, it will be used to create protective fruit and vegetable coating, he says.

    The nanofiber film protection is sprayed onto the product and, since it is harmless to consumers, the solution can be washed off before consumption.

    The new technology will be used in all Lidl Switzerland stores.

    Meanwhile, Nyström says the potential of cellulose coating is not yet fully realized. “There is the possibility of adding additives such as vitamins or antioxidants,” he adds.

    Swiss introduction
    The preliminary product study, which started in 2019, has now been “successfully” completed and the main study launched. EMPA’s cellulose layer will be tested and improved over the next two years.

    The study involves a partnership with Lidl Switzerland and is supported by Innosuisse (Swiss Innovation Agency).

    “The aim is for the new technology to be used in all 150 Lidl stores throughout Switzerland following the successful main trial,” confirms Nyström.

    Relatedly, Israel-based Sufresca has developed edible fruit and vegetable coatings that eliminate fresh produce plastic packaging and reduce food loss and waste.

    Meanwhile, Morrisons is set to become the first UK supermarket to remove plastic banana bags from its store shelves and as part of a 50% reduction of its own brand primary plastic packaging by 2025.

  • 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends To Watch Out For This 2022

    As more and more consumers become environmentally conscious, it’s vital for businesses to embrace sustainability in their packaging. In fact, this should be a priority among businesses across all niches as statistics show that more than half of the consumers worldwide take sustainable packaging into consideration before buying a product.

  • World’s first technology enables Juste Pressé switch from plastic to cartons


    New technology by Hiperbaric, the world’s leading company specialising in industrial equipment for High Pressure Technologies, enabled Juste Pressé to shift from plastic bottles to cartons for its juice range. The switch in packaging formats was critical for Juste Pressé’s goal to reduce or remove the plastic materials in its packaging.

    The range of four Juste Pressé fruit juices, are now packaged in 900ml Pure-Pak® cartons. Thanks to the new HPP technology, the juices have maintained the sensory quality of a fresh product, and its nutritional benefits.

    High Pressure Processing (HHP), also called cold press processing, was previously only available for products packaged in plastic bottles. It is a food and beverage preservation method that guarantees food safety and achieves an increased shelf life, whilst maintaining the attributes of a fresh product.

    Hermes Boissons won the Manufacturing Innovation Awards in 2020 for its innovative new HPP filling line. “Today’s customer demands food and beverages with specific characteristics such as higher sensory and nutritional quality, but with fewer additives and preservatives. They also demand more sustainable products and packaging,” explains Tom François, CEO of Hermes Boissons. “This new HPP technology is the solution to achieve fresh, safe and minimally processed products.”

    The new technology from Hiperbaric has been specially developed using in-bulk technology so product is processed before being packaged. Therefore, now juice can be processed and filled into any type of packaging not just plastic bottles, enabling Juste Pressé to select a more sustainable pack.

    “The new process and packaging enable us to give the consumer ‘The taste of the fruit and nothing else’,” adds Alexia Chassagne, CEO of Juste Pressé. “The process is precise, just like the elephant and the pea. Exerting just the right amount of pressure to destroy microorganisms, but not the vitamins and antioxidants!”

    “For the packaging, we really wanted to avoid plastic which is why we opted for the carton,” adds Alexia Chassagne. “Our new pack is 93% forest-based, with the cap also made from plant-based materials. The carton represents a 54% reduction in terms of carbon emissions compared our previous plastic bottle.”

  • Packaging Automation and CAPEX

    As labor costs continue to rise, manufacturers are finding process automation to provide greater returns on investment than before. Calculations of labor costs and time currently invested in every process can help pinpoint what parts of the packaging line are ideal for automation.

  • Use the sniff test’: Morrisons to scrap ‘use-by’ dates from milk packaging


    Morrisons will remove “use-by” dates from milk packaging at the end of the month in an attempt to save millions of pints from being thrown away unnecessarily every year.

    The British supermarket is asking customers to use a simple and time-honoured test to work out if cow’s milk is usable: sniff it.

    Bottles sold by the retailer will still carry “best before” dates that will give an indication of when the milk will have the best taste, but it can often still be used safely for several days after that point.

    The UK wastes about 330,000 tonnes of milk every year, about 7% of total UK production, according to figures from 2018 from food waste charity Wrap. Most of the wasted milk – 490m pints – is thrown away in the home, making it the third most-wasted food in the UK, behind potatoes and bread.

    Milk is also associated with high carbon emissions because of the large resources needed to feed cows. Increasing awareness of its carbon footprint has been one factor behind the rapid growth in plant-based alternatives such as oat, soy and almond “milks”.

    Morrisons said customers should check milk by holding the bottle to their nose. If it smells sour then it may have spoiled. If it has curdled and lumps have formed that is also a sign it should not be used. Milk’s life can be extended by keeping it cool, and keeping bottles closed as much as possible.

    Morrisons is the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket behind Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda with a 10.4% market share, according to data company Kantar.

    The move will initially cover 90% of the supermarket’s own-brand milks, including own-brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons For Farmers milks, and Morrisons organic milks. The supermarket had already scrapped “use-by” dates on some of its own-brand yoghurt and hard cheese ranges in 2020.

    Marcus Gover, Wrap’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Morrisons is the first UK supermarket to take this important step to help reduce household food waste – it shows real leadership and we look forward to more retailers reviewing date labels on their products and taking action.”

    Best practice guidelines drawn up by Wrap with the Food Standards Agency and the government say a “use-by” date is only required for food safety reasons, which don’t apply for milk.

    Ian Goode, Morrisons’ senior milk buyer, said: “Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.

    “Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too.”

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  • Evian launches sparkling water in cans & bottles


    Evian Sparkling is now available at Tesco stores, with both packaging formats recyclable – a 33cl aluminium can and a 100% recycled one-litre PET plastic bottle.

    Shweta Harit, VP of marketing at Evian, said: “Evian Sparkling represents new possibilities for the brand, as we reimagine our uniquely sourced water into an exciting new product.

    “This new product contains the perfect level of sparkles with its fine bubbles creating a subtle taste and gentle intensity. Available for the first time in recyclable aluminium cans, this latest innovation demonstrates our longstanding pioneering spirit that runs through everything we do at Evian.”

    Last year Evian launched a new in-home water ‘bubble’ solution, Evian re(new), with a significant reduction in plastic packaging.

    The company was certified carbon neutral globally in spring 2020, and achieved its B Corp status certification in 2021.

  • Ardagh Glass Packaging celebrates the International Year of Glass

    Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP), part of Ardagh Group, will celebrate the United Nations International Year of Glass throughout 2022, commemorating the essential role of glass packaging in a sustainable society.
    The International Commission on Glass (ICG), the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and ICOM-Glass are promoting 2022 as the United Nations International Year of Glass (IYOG) to underline the scientific, economic and cultural importance of glass in all its forms in our everyday lives. 

  • Michigan cannabis company sells weed in milk carton packaging — for a good cause


    The "Defiance!" series by Lemonati Family Farms will raise $1 from each sale to support Freedom Grow, a nonprofit 501c3 organization that works toward helping and freeing cannabis prisoners.

    The strains are named after positions within the cannabis industry — "The Caregiver" (Strawberry Shortcake), "The Grower" (Zkittles and Wedding Cake), "The Patient" (Wedding Cake and Gelato #33), and "The Plug" (Sophisticated Punch and Candy Rain).

    "Whether as a caregiver, patient, grower, or a plug, many have found themselves facing 20-40 years or more in prison for actions now considered legal in more than a dozen states," the company says in a statement.

    The nugs are sold in cardboard milk cartons, with packaging meant to mimic the missing-persons advertisements that used to be found on milk cartons. The labels include a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone, which pulls up stories about cannabis prisoners, as well as more information about the various strains.

    "Freedom Grow is thrilled to announce our relationship with Lemonati Family Farms," Freedom Grow vice president Randy Lanier said in a statement. "We are grateful for their compassion, kindness, generosity, and willingness to pay it forward. It is a blessing to the many families still suffering from this failed War on Drugs."

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