Food packaging is essential for containment of products, preservation and protection, to reduce food spoilage, eliminating the risk of adulteration and present food in a hygienic and aesthetically attractive way. According to the Agriculture and Food Organization, one third of the food in the world is wasted and most of this wasted food is generated by retailers and consumers who follow dates on packages and throw away edible food due to a label. Therefore, a project was initiated in order to develop plant-based bioplastic food packaging which increases the shelf life of food and the researchers also have formulated sensors that notify the consumers and retailers whether the food inside can be consumed or not.
These smart plant-based food packaging not only extend the life of the food product but also eliminates the need for environment-harming plastic. The smart plant-based food packaging market can be segmented on the basis of product type, material type and as per the region. On the basis of product type, the market is segmented into blow moulded, pot designed and others. On the basis of material type, it is divided into cellulose based film and blow moulded film. On the basis of region, the market is segmented into North America, Europe and the emerging countries of Asia Pacific.
Safety of food products has become a top priority of consumers on a global scale. Increasing awareness among the consumers regarding the environmental concerns and gradual change in buying habits is likely to propel the smart plant based food packaging market. Biodegradable plant based polymers in plant based food packaging is manufactured by cultivating carbohydrates via bacteria, while bio plant based polymers are macromolecules derived from plant residues. This provides the plant based food packaging improved food preservative properties. It is mainly designed to extend shelf life of the food and also to protect the contents from its surroundings. Standard packaging permits the entry of air which places limitations on shelf life of the food.
There is a lot of opportunity existing in the food packaging market in the developing economies as the food packaging technology is making huge progress in these regions. North America is leading the food packaging market followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. But somehow the growth rate shown in these regions have subsided considerably as the market is close to its peak. This growth is however restored by the high growth rate regions of Asia Pacifica which includes China, India and Latin America.
Smart plant based food packaging is one of the areas where food packaging companies can emphasize on refining their practices. Reutilizing in-house and using eco-friendly and/or recyclable packaging is another step, but making plant based material and packaging means using more biodegradable products. Heinz, Coca-Cola and SINTEF are the major companies participating in the movement towards the use of smart plant based food packaging. Coca-Cola uses Brazilian sugarcane but is also looking into other plant based materials. Currently all of the company’s bottles are made of fully recyclable plastic using bio-based products whereas SINTEF is now ready to present the first demonstration of packaging made from polyactic acid. The company has partnered with other collaborators like Logoplaste and Greek company Agro to develop plant based food packaging. Other food packaging companies need to find if they can alter their packaging necessities and fit plant based packaging material in their budget for which the USDA has proposed a loan guarantee program which will give these manufacturers easy access to loan and also cheaper interest rates in order to build a new plant.
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