Next Generation of Advanced Active and Intelligent Packaging for Food

Modified Atmosphere Packaging.

In Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), the packaging material plays a key role to master and control mass transfer (namely O2 and CO2 gases and water vapour) between the external atmosphere and the food. In passive MAP of fresh fruits and vegetables, gas permeabilities are matched to the respiration of the product in order to obtain the O2 and CO2 contents suitable for maintaining the product quality and safety all long its shelf life.

The successful outcome of this conservation technique is essentially based on technical knowledge and empirical tests of the different possible combinations of “food/pack/atmosphere” : this “pack and pray” approach is expensive and time-consuming and must be started again as soon as one parameter is changed in the system.

Some MAP simulating tools have been developed in INRA team based on mass transfer modelling occurring in the food/packaging system coupled with reaction-based models (e.g. respiration, predictive microbiology, etc.). These tools aimed at minimizing the number of experiments and the economic and safety hazard consequences of empirical approaches.

They can be used in a reverse manner in order to identify the window of gas permeabilites suitable for a given application, which is very powerful to help the user to choose a priori the right packaging material.

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NGP Alliance between INRA-IATE and Fraunhofer IVV aims to provide the best strategic options to support the development of innovative and safe eco-friendly packaging for food, using some of the world’s most advanced and powerful laboratories, multi-scales equipment and decision support tools.