|Materials Technology for Food Packaging III
Technological innovation in the food and beverage packaging industry is driven by technological innovations aimed at improving food quality, safety, shelf-life and convenience for the consumer. The rapid growth in plastic (mostly flexible) packaging generated concerns about the ecological impact of food packaging, which in turn has led to the development of eco-friendly packaging materials. The most significant development in this area is bio-plastics, which are derived from non-petroleum based, renewable sources. Another recent innovation is smart packaging, which includes active and intelligent packaging, in which the package interacts and responds to the contents and the environment to improve food quality. The use of nanotechnology holds the promise to further revolutionize the packaging industry, but concerns over the long-term effects of nanomaterials on human health have held back commercialization. In this newsletter, we highlight some of the latest important developments in food packaging materials and processes, focusing on ecological packaging, active packaging, and nanotechnology.