Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Development of active, intelligent and sustainable food packaging using polybutylenesuccinate (Food processing)

Project acronym: SUCCIPACK

Title of project: Development of active, intelligent and sustainable food packaging using polybutylenesuccinate

Research area: Food Processing

Contract No: 289196

EU contribution: €2 999 521

Start date: January 2012

Duration: 36 months

Status: on-going

The SUCCIPACK  project is supporting European industry's efforts to introduce bio-based polybutylene succinate (PBS) as a new material on the food packaging market. The advantage of PBS lies in its promising, environment-friendly properties compared to other bio-based polymers. PBS is synthesised from succinic acid and butanediol, both identified as key "building blocks' produced from renewable resources, and which will be produced on a large scale in the coming years.

The project is developing sustainable, active, and intelligent food packaging materials from PBS that can be flexibly used by the packaging and food industries. As a first step the partners are optimising the synthesis and compounding of PBS grades for industrial processes to obtain films, trays and pouches. In addition, flexible in-line surface treatments are needed to control the gas barrier properties of the final packaging and to introduce beneficial antimicrobial activity – to extend the shelf life of packaged food. The performance and safety of these new packaging materials will be assessed for selected food products, representing different food categories and preservation technologies. For example, fish products, cheeses or ready-to-eat meals.

Special efforts are underway to explore PBS recycling routes, including chemical recycling. The project is developing methods to track and characterise the degradation level in the packaging using an intelligent chemical sensor for in situ monitoring. Recycling scenarios by remelting, restabilisation, and chain extension will be tested as well. Life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost analysis (LCC) concepts are being used to guide material development and to assess the sustainability of the whole packaging concept.

The involvement of 10 SMEs in SUCCIPACK – from both the packaging and food sectors – will help the project by testing the new packaging technologies on their production lines. In this way, the project aims to support European industry, especially SMEs, in strengthening competitive advantage over the currently fast-growing PBS developments around the world.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Christophe Cotillon,

Organisation: Association de Coordination Technique pour l'Industrie Agroalimentaire, France,