Innovative Smart Materials and Sensors for Packaging of Raw and Processed Food Products

Project: Research direct

Project Details


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2017), annually one third of the globally produced food for human consumption (1.3 billion tonnes), gets lost or is wasted. If we can prevent food waste, sufficient food is produced to feed the world, and improved packaging concepts will play a big role in achieving this, be it through improved packaging materials, better sealing, or better sensing that allows monitoring of decay processes occurring inside the package. These three topics are the core of the multi-disciplinary project that we propose here, and that will lead to the package of the future made accessible for our industrial partners. To achieve this, we will need to advance (scientific) knowledge far beyond its’ current boundaries therewith creating a unique position for the Dutch packaging and food industry.
The work packages revolve around: 1 New materials, 2. Improved sealing, 3. Innovative sensors, 4. Design of the package of the future.
Plastic materials re-enforced with bio-based nanoparticles is a new field of research that will lead amongst others to improved mechanical and barrier (gas- and water permeation) and antimicrobial surfaces. These aspects are essential to increase shelf life of fresh and processed foods.
Sealing and closing of plastic packaging may be applied very widely, but micro leakages occur in 1-4% of the packages, and these leakages are hard to detect. This work package focuses on identifying the closing mechanism and developing a simulation model that can be used to design and engineer packaging and closing mechanisms, which is uncharted territory in open literature.
Sensors are readily available but their cost prevents wide-spread application. We will fabricate battery-free, cheap (< 0.025 Euro/sensor) optical sensors with high speed printing techniques (flexography, inkjet printing), as an integrated part of the package, therewith allowing both time-temperature recording, and that of specific analytes such as pH, CO2, H2 etc. that can be used for early detection of spoilage.
In the last work package all the aspects investigated in the previous 3 will be integrated into a tool that can be used by the industrial partners for the design of their packaging concept of the future. In this way, those aspects that are of greatest importance for a product category can be maximally tailored in packaging design. At least one demonstrator package of the future will be delivered with the program.
Short titleHT-17215 PPS toeslag
Effective start/end date1/01/1822/07/22




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