Innovation Zone ThePackHub -


Welcome to this week’s ThePackHub Innovation Zone snapshot.

ThePackHub collates 20 new packaging innovations each week and we have picked four recent examples for you to peruse below.

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#1 Infrared scanner can detect freshness of food to reduce food waste

Every year, a third of all food produced in the world is wasted. This is equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes according to figures from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Association. A new innovation has been developed by researchers at Fraunhofer in the hope of reducing the perfectly edible food that is wasted due to consumers not being sure if it is still fresh to eat. Scientists from the German research institute have developed a small infrared portable scanner that will determine if a food item has gone bad as well as its degree of ripeness. The solution could prove to be a useful tool for retailers, industry food handlers and consumers to help prevent what is essentially unnecessary food waste. The device is based on a high-precision near-infrared sensor. An infrared beam is shone on the food and the reflected light is measured across the IR spectrum. The absorption spectrum from the food is compared with a known sample to help determine the food condition. The scanner is still in the demonstrator stage with consumer testing at supermarkets due to start later this year.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#2 Anti-fog coating helps extend freshness of refrigerated foods

Bostik provides adhesive technologies across a wide range of sectors including construction, automotive, aerospace, rail and, of course, packaging. The business has developed a new anti-fog coating for flexible film lids. The solution stops water droplets from forming as well as helping to extend freshness of refrigerated foods that suffer with moisture. The technology also helps improve produce appeal by keeping lids clear so consumers can see the contents. The co-polyester coatings combine anti-fog capability alongside heat seal functionality. This requires one process step instead of two and work with existing converting equipment.. The coatings have excellent seal strength to PET with a smooth peel when opened.

#3 Reverse vending scheme starts Brazil market roll out

Agricultural and consumer goods giant Cargill has combined with Triciclo on a new recycling initiative. TriCiclos began in Chile in 2009 with an objective to create a triple of sustainability goals based on social, environmental and financial needs. The businesses have come together to offer a new option for the correct disposal of packaging to Brazilian consumers. A pilot of seven machines can now accept a range of packaging formats including carton packs, aluminium, steel and PET. Each type of waste has a score and in exchange for the packaging waste, consumers can earn points to earn money off utility bills, public transport tickets or mobile phone bills. All brand packaging, not just Cargill’s can be accepted. Consumers need to register for free using the Return Machine itself, via an app or through the website. The collected material is sent to recyclers and cooperatives to generate new raw materials. See also Reverse vending machine trial rewards theme park goers and Reverse vending machine helps recycle festival plastics.


More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 Algae-based bio-material doesn’t require land or fresh water to develop

Scientists from Tel Aviv University are working on a new bio-plastic derived from marine microorganisms in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of biodegradable plastics. The new process does not rely on fertile soil and fresh water to grow the plant matter, which is in short supply in many parts of the world. This also puts demands on farming capacity that needs to be used to grow food crops. Researchers from Tel Aviv University have been developing a sea lettuce algae called Ulva lactuca to help create a new bio-material. It is cultivated in the sea, and then fed to single-celled Haloferax mediterranei microorganisms, which excrete a PHA bioplastic polymer. This can then be used to produce biodegradable plastics. Work is ongoing accessing alternative bacteria and algae to find combinations capable of producing bio-plastics with different functional properties. A research paper has been published in the Bioresource Technology journal.

More info in The Innovation Zone.



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Please visit ThePackHub or call us on +44(0)118 963 9990 to find out more about the range of packaging innovation services we offer. We’ve delivered projects for a number of brand owner, retailer and packaging suppliers.

Until next time. Happy innovating.

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