Demands for Food Packaging
With the global customer base for retailed food increasing, food packaging must more and more conform to international food quality, and safety standards. This also can mean longer shelf life is a necessity. Increased global consumer awareness, income, combined with busier lifestyles, is creating a growing demand for convenience foods. Consumers typically want the food they buy to be safe to eat, stay fresh longer, and meet their taste, and appearance preferences. Essential to this end is food packaging that can extend shelf life, and maintain food freshness. Simply stated, consumers want protective economic food packaging that offers easy open, and see through features, combined with barrier protection from degrading oxygen, water vapor, and aromas.
Effective Barrier Coatings
Barrier and other functional coatings encompass materials that are coated onto substrates to provide a barrier, and a package, to protect selected packaged goods. Barrier coatings, providing barriers for food packaging requirements, may include protection against oxygen and aromas, liquid water and water vapor, oils, and grease.
An effective barrier can prevent both losses from the packaged product, and penetration into the package, both of which can affect quality, and shorten product shelf life. Packaged food products are being maintained fresh longer as a result of new materials, and food processing developments.
For example, O² scavengers are now being used that work within a sealed package to limit O² reaction with a food product. Combined with effective O² barrier packaging, food packagers have the ability to improve shelf life, preserve product appearance, and flavor, while minimizing preservative use. Additionally, antimicrobials, while under siege, have been proven effective as additives to coatings, and packaging films, in combating food sourced illnesses.