Advanced food packaging for a sustainable future

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

Overview
The development of new and advanced solutions for improved packaging of fresh food is fundamental to tackle important issues including the likes of improved recyclability, food safety, shelf lifetime, reduction of spoilage, and improved customer experience. Modern, low environmental impact packaging plays a key role in the development of a long-term, sustainable, and environmentally friendly supply chain. The research engineer will work in collaboration with Klöckner Pentaplast (KP), a company at the forefront of plastic packaging solutions and committed to promoting responsible innovations by championing a circular economy approach where plastics are a source of valuable raw material.
For the fresh food packaging sector, core product groups include:
1) Thermoformed trays. These are manufactured by thermoforming extruded rigid sheet (Polypropylene and PET), foam (expanded polystyrene) and the thermoforming of these sheets into food packaging.
2) Associated Extruded films.

Project Aims
The development of fresh food packaging for a fully circular economy requires new technologies to provide environmentally friendly solutions while reducing waste by enhancing food safety, shelf life, and product desirability of any fresh product.
The project aims to develop new solutions addressing important elements of this research question:
1) Sealing and barrier properties for mono-material thermoplastic packaging: Sealing between film lid and tray is critical for safety and shelf-life of the product. Moving towards a circular approach for resources, conventional approaches are questioned, with films and trays traditionally made of different materials which then cause challenges associated with recyclability. The project will focus to develop new solutions for complete package recycling at end of life, compatible with modern and future environmental needs.

2) Antifogging: In transparent food packaging, fogging inside the packaging is an important source of waste product, affecting the visibility and essentially reducing product desirability for the consumer. Through exploration of the phenomenon, the project aims to provide and test scalable viable solutions to this issue.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2596459 Studentship EP/S02252X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Rebecca Jane Moody