US scientist says concept of intelligent and active packaging is growing in the developed world
Ludhiana- Intelligent packaging and active packaging are becoming popular in the developed world and these new packaging technologies could sense quality of food and even reveal temperature inside packet for consumers, this was revealed by Dr Eva M Almenar, Assistant Professor, School of Packaging of Michigan State University, USA. She has come to Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), for delivering special lectures in NAIP sponsored training on smart packaging.
Dr Eva, who has vast experience in smart packaging, said that in America around 20 percent of processed food items are now available in active packaging. “The number is many times higher in Japan due to more liberal laws on food safety, while in America one has to go through many procedures to get permission.” She said that there are certain advantages which make active packaging far ahead over modified atmosphere packaging.
“In the active packaging, some additives are incorporated inside the packaging material. It could be in form of sachet or even a layer of the packaging film. Active packets could control atmosphere of the packaged food exactly suiting its respiration rate, thus increasing shelf life of the food many times,” she added. Talking about other advancements in packaging, Dr Eva said that temperatures and time indicators have also come up which could reveal about condition of packaged food to consumers.
“Radio frequency identification tags, biosensors, fluorescence oxygen based sensors, microbial growth indicators are the other emerging indicators in the modern packaging technologies,” she said, adding that some of them including microbial growth indicators could also be useful in the Indian market. “Many of these indicators come in form of labels on food packets, who inform consumers by change of colors etc.”
Saying that Japan is fast adopting new packaging technologies, she said that self heating and self chilling canes, which could promise food in hot or cold condition all the time, have also come up. Admitting that there are certain difficulties in active and intelligent packaging growth, she said that biggest hiccup is high cost factor against conventional packaging. “Besides, there are certain food safety concerns by government authorities,” she said, adding that in future advantages of these new packaging technologies including extension of shelf life would make them more popular.