The Mediterranean basin is one of the most relevant areas for food production and thus an important base for the economy of the countries. Packaging materials play an important role in commercialization, distribution and marketing. Traditionally, plastics have been the most abundant food packaging materials. However, the environmental problems created by plastic waste force the European Commission to search for new solutions that involve recycling and the search of new biodegradable and compostable materials in order to reduce the plastic waste. Although these are important objectives under the Circular Economy concept, there are many challenges to cope with when designing and selecting the materials to be in contact with food.
There is a wide range of plastics and the recycling processes are not always ready for all of them. The industrial sector is continuously developing new recycling solutions to provide safe materials that comply with the requirements (barrier properties, mechanical performance and visual appearance, among others) for each target food, but there is still a long way to go. This course will present and discuss issues related to the implementation of recycled materials.
In an effort to reduce conventional plastic use, an alternative could be the use of biodegradable and compostable materials. Again, these options need to be well designed and optimised. Some of them are industrially processed, but the applicability in food packaging is still limited to specific food products. In this course, we will describe the different materials available and their advantages and drawbacks.
FAO estimates that today, globally, roughly 33% (by weight) of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. Food is perishable due to physical, chemical or microbiological deterioration. Packaging is an important element in reducing food waste. Active and intelligent packaging technologies can maintain the quality and freshness of the products thus extending the shelf-life, contributing to reduce food waste, and facilitating commercialization and export. This course will give an overview of these technologies and provide some examples of their use, including commercial applications.
Organizer: CIHEAM Zaragoza
Venue: CIHEAM Zaragoza (Spain)
Dates: 14-18 November 2022
Modality: face-to-face & online
Details and registration: Recyclable, biodegradable, active and intelligent food packaging