February 2023

Researchers developing edible biofilm for frozen fish

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Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Leiria in Portugal are aiming to create a substitute for single-use plastic film for conserving frozen fish. The project, called the SeaFilm food packaging project, will focus on bioactive seaweed extracts and edible algae. The SeaFilm project is looking to provide the industry with a new algae-based edible solution to replace plastic films whilst increasing product shelf life through the incorporation of bioactive seaweed extracts. After defrosting the frozen fish, the biodegradable film can either be disposed of or simply eaten along with the fish. In the latter case, the edible film could even include seasonings to create a meal that is tasty, convenient and easy to cook. The innovative solution was supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The industry is very interested in the results of the project and has asked the team to produce biofilms for other species such as cod and hake.


thepackhubs-viewThis is an interesting long term development and one of many biofilms being explored.

 


opportunityzone

This has opportunities for a range of frozen Food sector products.


January 2023

Multi-million dollar grant awarded for research into bioplastics from food waste

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Researchers at the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have received a US$2.4 million (£1.95m) grant from the US Department of Agriculture to create bioplastics from food waste. The three year project will focus on developing an affordable modular bioprocessing system to produce biodegradable bioplastics from food waste diverted from landfills. Unlike traditional plastics from petroleum-based materials, bioplastics are made from biological elements such as plant or animal oils and will naturally degrade in compost and waterways. One of the primary targets of the research is finding a way to create bioplastics while keeping the costs as low as possible. The reusability of food waste for bio-based plastic production could help reduce landfill quantity and waste management costs, offset petroleum-based plastic production and pollution and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. 


thepackhubs-viewThis is the very start of the research process. There has been a lot of bioplastic development in this area to draw upon to work on a low cost solution.


opportunityzone

This innovation has applications for Food sector products.

 

 


January 2023

Researchers license environmentally-friendly flexo solution

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A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IIT Roorkee), along with Afflatus Gravure Private Limited, have developed a reportedly more sustainable solution for flexible printing that is also cost-effective. The researchers at IIT Roorkee developed the water-based solution to meet the challenge of reducing carbon footprint and VOCs to promote a green solution which will be the benchmark for green manufacturing systems in printing applications, leading towards an environment-friendly solution. The objective of the project was to develop a highly sustainable, environment friendly and cost-effective printing solution. A spokesperson for Afflatus said that the technology will likely be “a game changer in the world of printing”. A patent for the technology has already been applied for by IIT Roorkee. 


thepackhubs-view

Water-based materials are being used more in packaging ink developments and this is another good example.

 


opportunityzone

This has applications across all sectors.


January 2023

Beauty giant patents in-store refilling of perfume bottles

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American-French multinational beauty company Coty has announced that it has applied for an international patent for in-store perfume blending via a refill machine. The machine would enable customers to blend and refill their empty perfume containers. The beauty giant’s method of refilling a used container with fragrance features a transfer system that mixes pre-selected amounts of fragrance concentrate, distilled water and organic compound ethanol. For ease of use, the in-store station will feature a digital interface for ease of use by customers. The company says the station could be used with a range of refillable bottles – both transparent and opaque – and these would be weighed before filling for accuracy. It is thought that in-store refilling of empty perfume containers could take personalisation and sustainability in the industry to new levels. The patent was filed in May 2022 and published in December 2022. See also World’s first cradle-to-cradle certified refillable perfume.


thepackhubs-viewThe health and beauty industry is leading the way with refillable outer containers. This takes the solution take refill to a new level with the option of bespoke product combinations that could also be applied to food and beverage products.

 


opportunityzone

This has applications for products in the Health & Beauty sector.


January 2023

Polish university creates packaging from corn

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Researchers from the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland, have created packaging made from corn. The corn flour is processed into a dough which is then thermally treated. The resulting material is a polymer that they say has the same properties as a plastic bottle. The material has so far been used to make compostable trays where vegetables such as tomatoes and other fresh produce can be sold. It is also suitable for storing products with a short shelf life, such as milk, processed cheese and homogenized cheese. The researchers claim that the corn packaging will decompose in around a year. A spokesperson for the university said that the use of corn material, in addition to being environmentally friendly, has an additional value, which is its low price, which is important when introducing new solutions and replacing existing cheap plastic packaging with them. 


thepackhubs-viewThis is one of many new bio-material compostable packaging developments coming to our attention. The reported low price estimation will help this solution attract interest.


opportunityzone

This has applications for Food sector products.

 

 


January 2023

Plastic-free compostable films and trays being developed from brewery by-product

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The University of A Coruña (UDC) in Spain is developing plastic-free compostable films and trays. As part of the Waste2BioComp project, researchers from the Ferrol Campus of the UDC are developing films and trays that will be more environmentally friendly throughout their entire life cycle, from natural and renewable sources and fully compostable once disposed of. Waste2BioComp will focus mainly on plastic packaging materials by developing bio-based plastic films for packaging by extrusion, blown extrusion and thermoforming processes. The raw materials are completely biodegradable, and the source from which they are obtained is a fermentation process by bacteria that feed wastewater from a brewery. A UDC researcher explained that these bacteria generate a material that is later extracted and sent to the campus from Germany. Once the prototypes of the flexible film and the rigid tray have been made, they will be scaled up by Italy’s PROPA Group. See also Brewery waste product converted into cosmetic packaging.


thepackhubs-viewThe amount of bio-material options in development continues to be vibrant. The Innovation Zone has tracked 64 in the last 12 months.

 


opportunityzone

A bio innovation of this type has opportunities across product sectors.

 


January 2023

University develops ‘spray-on’ food wrapper

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Researchers at Rutgers and Harvard University recently developed a biodegradable spray-on food wrapper. The researchers believe this wrapper can preserve the shelf-life of food, reduce food and plastic waste, and increase food safety. The spray on wrapper’s main ingredient is pullulan, a glucan gum produced aerobically by growing a yeast-like fungus. Pullulan is a white powder that is odourless, flavourless, and stable. Pullulan films have low permeability to oxygen, which protects active ingredients, flavours, and colours incorporated into the film from deterioration. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers pullulan to be “generally recognize[d] as safe” (GRAS). The mixture of the biodegradable polymer and non-toxic solvents can be rinsed off with water. The spray-on wrapper is still in its early stage of development, but the research team intends to scale up the process. They want to ensure that the wrapper is cost-efficient and suitable to current industry equipment standards. See also Natural coating improves shelf life of fruit and vegetables.


thepackhubs-viewExtending the shelf life of fruit produce is an important development that could have significant implications for costs and supply options as well as the environment. Similar solutions claim to be edible, although is seems that this film needs to be washed off before consumption.


opportunityzone

This has opportunities for produce for Food sector products.

 



Researchers develop edible ink for printing on fruit and vegetables

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Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have developed a water-based edible ink from plants for printing on fruits and vegetables as an alternative to stickers. Using plant-based material called catechu, and developed as a substitute for synthetic ink, the more environmentally friendly and non-toxic ink can be used in several packaging and printing applications. Catechu is an extract of acacia trees used variously as a food additive, astringent, tannin, and dye. The surface branding method and printing on foods are expected to reduce toxicity and unexpected health concerns. It is reported that currently used solvents and chemicals in synthetic ink may cause skin irritation and dermatitis upon skin contact. In India, the consumption of packaging was estimated to be around 373.6 billion units last year. See also Edible inks for direct food and pharmaceutical applications introduced.


thepackhubs-viewThis opens up additional communication opportunities through printing on the product and the packaging rather than using labels.

 


opportunityzone

This has opportunities for produce for Food sector products.

 


January 2023

Research facility converting coffee waste into biofilm

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The AIMPLAS Technological Institute of Plastics research facility, based in the Valencia area of Spain has announced that it is converting used coffee grounds into plastic film. The project is one of the main objectives of the European WaysTUP! project, financed by the Horizon H2020 programme, to turn biological waste into resources. The bio-based plastic film produced by AIMPLAS was obtained from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from restaurant coffee grounds collected by Bio-Bean in the UK. AIMPLAS first formulated the PHA to be processed by extrusion and then manufactured the film, which can be used in different types of flexible packaging. The WaysTUP! project aims to improve citizens’ and local communities’ perception of the importance of urban biowaste as a resource. The idea is to promote the community’s active participation in selective urban biowaste collection for subsequent recovery. See also New packaging material includes coffee byproduct.


This is one of a host of activities in the bio-material space. Using widely available coffee waste sounds like a material alternative that would interest consumers.


opportunityzone

This has applications for Food sector products.

 


January 2023

Brewery waste product converted into cosmetic packaging

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A Japanese brewer, and a cosmetic packaging manufacturer have announced that they have created refill packaging for compact cases. Using a by-product of the brewing process, Kirin Holdings and FANCL, along with Business Innovation Partners, has resulted in the creation of sheets suitable for producing refill packaging. This was made by mixing cellulose with hemicellulose from Ichiban Shibori beer lees. Lees, also known as trub or dregs, are deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate. The packaging material for the refill is usually made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) material. The refill packaging material can also be used for a “universal design,” making it easy to handle for foundation refills (patent pending at FANCL), for instance. Kirin touts itself as the first company in Japan to successfully commercialise plant-derived cosmetic packaging material for refills made from beer lees. See also Spent beer waste used to make packaging.


thepackhubs-viewThis is another bio-based solution that utilises plentiful and conventionally low-value waste materials—this time from beer.

 


opportunityzone

This has opportunities for Health & Beauty sector products.

 


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