The quality and shelf-life of foods is in the most cases reduced by oxygen influence. A wide range of food shows oxidative damage to flavour and colour. The main objectives of the project are the development of combined systems for indication of food quality and packaging integrity, and at the same time for enhancement of product quality and shelf life via oxygen scavenging ("indicator-scavenger-systems"). These systems are to be integrated into packaging film materials. The benefits of such an innovative packaging system are:
- To reduce the internal oxygen level as low as possible just directly after packing of the product;
- To increase the shelf life and the nutritional and sensory quality of food;
- To allow for verification of proper functionality of the oxygen scavenger and of product quality and for detection of damages or tampering, throughout the whole logistic chain up to the point of consumption.
The main objectives of the project are the development of combined systems- for indication of food quality and packaging integrity, and at the same time,- for enhancement of product quality and shelf life via oxygen scavenging("indicator-scavenger-system") .The goal of this project is to develop new materials and conversion techniques up to prototypes of active indicator/oxygen scavenger packagings for oxygen sensitive foods. The innovations are the development of systems with combined indicator and scavenger functions, the integration of the systems into packaging films and the verification the proper functionality of oxygen scavenger and for detection of damages or tampering of the packagings, throughout the whole logistic chain up to the point of consumption. In the project a broad attention will be addressed to the consumer and customer acceptance of these new innovative type of packaging.
The project will deliver combinations of indicator substances and oxygen scavengers in various configurations (combined in polymer blends; linked via chemical bonds, either directly or via a matrix system). Selected combined oxygen indicator/scavenger systems will be integrated into packaging film materials. Depending on the actual indicator/scavenger combination, different techniques (extrusion in form of mono-layer and multi-layer film, incorporation into lamination adhesives, coating via lacquering/printing, vacuum deposition onto substrate films) will be used for their incorporation into packaging film laminates. Their application will be tested for a series of oxygen sensitive products in pouches and thermoformed packages. For this new type of packagings, the acceptance of consumers, retail trade and of packing companies is essential. Therefore, a related consumer acceptance analysis will be included into the project for different European markets at an early stage of the technical development. Later in the project, more advanced prototypes resulting from the work will be subjected to the same evaluation procedures. Consumer acceptance will be assessed and supervised via a consumer organisation, contributing to the project. Films and complete packages will be tested via packaging experiments on an automated packaging line. They will be assessed for their mechanical and physical properties and, especially, with emphasis to their improvement of food quality and safety. For a broad implementation of these innovative packaging types into the market, a code of practice with performance know-how and test methods for the assessment of these oxygen indicator/ scavenger packagings will be developed and a multitude of dissemination and exploitation activities will be scheduled according to the progress in the project.