Food packaging: The latest innovations to discover!
The food packaging world is constantly evolving and continues to offer new innovations. The efforts are mainly aimed at making packaging more eco-friendly. In a competitive market, packaging plays a key role in creating a positive image of the product. In this blog post, we will explore the latest innovations and trends in the field of food packaging.
Why food packaging is important?
In the food industry, packaging is a communication support. It allows differentiation from competitors on store shelves and provides information to consumers about the quality of the product, its durability, its impact on health, and more. In short, food packaging has an impact on the perception of the product inside.
The choice of packaging design depends on many criteria: the product, the brand identity, how it must be perceived, its target audience, etc. Packaging designed for children will be different from packaging designed for the luxury industry. Packaging for a “gourmet” product will not be the same as for a “light” product.Consequently, some packaging will be more appealing to you than others, since you are looking for products that have certain specifications and may even reflect values that are important to you.
In addition to the aesthetics of packaging, its practicality also plays an essential role. Consumers will appreciate packaging with an easy opening or designed specifically for microwave use.
The packaging must attract attention to generate consumers interest and makes them have a look at it.
Now aware of the importance of food packaging, let’s review these innovations and trends:
- smart packaging,
- edible packaging (seaweed, potato,…),
- biobased plastic,
- recycled PET bottles (rPET),
- Coca-Cola paper bottle.
Smart packaging, also known as intelligent packaging, actually encompasses three different types of packaging:
- connected packaging,
- active packaging,
- smart packaging.
Connected packaging is equipped with technologies such as QR codes (Quick Response Code), NFC chips (Near Field Communication), or augmented reality, which offer new possibilities for interaction with consumers.
Applications such as Yuka, made as a normal use scanning a product to obtain information on their components and impact on health. QR codes offer the possibility to:
- share information about the brand or products,
- request customer feedback,
- provide usage tips or recipes,
Let’s examine some concrete examples of connected packaging.
Spirits brands use NFC technology to fight against counterfeiting. This technology detects the opening of the bottle.It also provides consumers with additional information about the product.
May we also mention the example of Danone Company, which collaborated with Playmobil to offer an augmented reality experience. By using their smartphone, consumers can discover a Playmobil animation on the yogurt packaging, allowing them to better understand the yogurt production process and the life of a dairy farmer.
Carrefour, on the other hand, uses QR codes to ensure traceability of its products. This is part of a transparency initiative on the origin of its products. Simply scanning a QR code provides access to this information. To guarantee the reliability of the data, Carrefour even uses blockchain technology. This technology is transparent and secure database.
Active packaging has a direct effect on the products they contain. They are capable of extending the shelf life of foods by releasing or absorbing specific substances that modify the environment in which the product is located.
Here are various examples of its use:
- Meat oxidation can be prevented by using an O2 absorber sachet.
- Moisture retention in dry foods can be achieved by using H2O absorber sachets.
- The development of mold in bakery products can be limited by using an ethanol-emitting label or sachet.
Active packaging has two major advantages. Firstly, by extending the shelf life of foods, they contribute in reducing food waste. Secondly, these food packaging solutions offer a solution for people who does not have time to shop and prepare fresh foods, enabling them to eat better.
Source image : Papier et emballage intelligent – Carbone Propre
Smart packaging provides a multitude of real-time information and features about the products consumers are purchasing. Among this information, we can mention:
- the storage temperature,
- gas leaks,
For this purpose, color indicators are used. These indicators are small capsules that contain sensors integrated into the product’s packaging. Chemical information is transformed into visual information to provide easy reading data to consumers.
Among its advantages, reducing food waste can be mentioned. These food packaging solutions provide real-time information on the expiration date of the food. It is no longer necessary to rely on an estimated expiration date.
Smart packaging also plays an important role in food safety. Consumers can access real-time information about the products they are purchasing, which helps them to make decisions about their consumption and avoid food poisoning.
Source image : Verrines comestibles – Do Eat
Edible packaging is an original ecological alternative. In addition to being environmentally friendly, they offer a funny and unique consumption experience.
A noticeable example of edible packaging is created by the brand Notpla, which uses seaweed to create a 100% biodegradable packaging that visually resembles cellophane.
Another company that uses seaweed to create packaging is Evoware, which has received support from WWF for its efforts in producing eco-friendly packaging.
The start-up DO EAT uses water and potato to make edible cups, providing a practical and sustainable alternative to traditional disposable tableware.
The concept of bio-based packaging is already a well-known ecological alternative. It consists in using biological and renewable origin materials to manufacture packaging such as cardboard and paper. The bio-based plastic is produced from renewable sources such as starch, sugar, and cellulose with the aim of creating more eco- friendly food packaging. This involves substituting fossil-based polymers with plant-based plastics.
Among the types of bioplastics, there is PLA which is both bio-based and biodegradable. It is made from sugarcane or corn starch. PLA is a regulated material in some European countries, such as France.
Bamboo is a highly valued material. Indeed, the use of bamboo has advantages as it is biodegradable and regenerates quickly. Its rapid growth is its major characteristic. Bamboo offers several benefits such as its strength and lightness.
Recycled PET bottles (rPET)
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a material appreciated for its properties of strength, firmness, and transparency, which makes it a common choice for food packaging. What makes this material even more interesting is that it is entirely recyclable.
When recycled, PET is referred to rPET. This form of plastic is produced by recovering and recycling plastic bottles.
For example, Nestlé is working in using more rPET. Most of their bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic.
Bagasse is made from sugarcane residue after extracting its juice. By using this material, waste is transformed into a food packaging product. This way, the entire plant is utilized. Sugarcane is a fast-growing plant, making it a very interesting renewable resource. The disadvantage is that this material is not customizable.
Mushrooms Based Packaging
Polystyrene is widely used nowadays despite being harmful to the environment. Fortunately, mushrooms offer a promising solution to tackle this problem. They are able to create a completely biodegradable material and replace polystyrene. This material is made by combining agricultural waste such as hemp or corn stalks with mycelium.
If you are in the food e-commerce industry, here is a material you could consider to deliver your products. You could use it as packaging to pack your products.
This is the material that the American computer manufacturer Dell has chosen to use for its items.
The Coca-Cola paper bottle
Coca-Cola is currently working on a bottle made entirely with paper, which is still in the prototype stage. This is part of their goal for a “world without waste”.
We now know that the food packaging sector has seen significant innovations in recent years, with particular attention paid to ecology. Indeed, it is essential for many industries to take into account consumers’ environmental concerns. Thanks to constantly evolving technically, we still have many opportunities to move on in this field. The future of food packaging looks promising!
Customized and sustainable packaging
At XMP Packaging, we provide customized eco-friendly packaging. We offer a wide range of solutions for food packaging. We invite you to explore our catalog to discover our products and find the ideal solution for your needs.