Active and intelligent packaging

Streamlining the food supply chain

Active and intelligent packaging
Debabrata Deb of Future Formats

At the inaugural Packaging Design Innovation Technology (PDIT) conference held in Mumbai and organized jointly by IPPStar and Messe Dusseldorf India, stakeholders from the consumer product, food and packaging industries deliberated on key technologies that can help avoid food wastage. Debabrata Deb of Future Formats made a detailed technology presentation on how active and intelligent packaging plays a critical role in reducing food wastage. He said, Active packaging is an integral part of not just food-grade packaging but also pharmaceutical and other perishable consumer products in distribution, retail, food service and home consumption.

In the PDIT Conference in Mumbai in December 2016, Deb spoke about the many factors that cause food deterioration such as microbiological, enzymatic and biochemical compounds, and why it needs to be processed to control and minimize such deterioration over the product’s life till consumption. “Active packaging is designed to deliberately interact with the food and its environment after packaging and it works when two key requirements are met—the packaging should have suitable barrier properties and the pack seal is hermetic. The other aspects of active food packaging design include headspace conditions (RH, oxygen, microbial load), storage temperature, the incidence of light and UV, and atmospheric humidity,” explained Deb.

He pointed out that moisture regulation in active packaging is achieved through salts that balance the moisture in the product, whereas anti-microbials prevent the growth of micro-organisms in the form of fungi and bacteria in the food. The most important active packaging component is oxygen scavengers as 70% of all active packaging is driven by oxygen scavengers, which have the largest commercial application, such as sachets of reduced iron oxygen scavengers inserted inside the pack. “All oxygen scavengers are anti-oxidants and typically intercept, absorb and scavenge to reduce oxygen levels in the food,” he went on to say.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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