Sustainability is on everyone’s lips – and is addressed in many ways in the project BioActiveMaterials. An elaborated concept is developed in this project in order to reduce food waste and simultaneously use environmentally friendly raw materials for packaging.
The overall innovation target is to substitute and improve conventional, fossil based food packaging materials (wrappers and pouches) by bio-based multilayer structures. In order to additionally make paper competitive as a food packaging material, protein coatings shall improve the mineral oil barrier, in order to reduce the migration of mineral oil from recycling paper into food products. The multilayers are laminated by a bio based micellar protein adhesive, which additionally provides oxygen barrier.
To increase the shelf life of food products, the material should provide suitable oxygen, water vapor and mineral oil barrier as well as antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Microbiological stability will be improved by using protein and wax coatings, which reduce the permeation of oxygen resp. water vapor. Additionally to the barrier, chemical and microbial food deterioration will be reduced by adding natural antioxidants to the coating and by using antimicrobial active biopolymers or natural antimicrobials.
In the event of success, benefits for SMEs are various: Agricultural enterprises reduce non-used side streams and thus costs for disposal and CO2-emissions, as those streams provide raw material for the new packaging. Paper industry captures new markets and saves jobs. This is indispensable as market shares decrease. Food packers and retailers reduce food and financial losses due to increased shelf life because of the packaging’s antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Packaging producers, packers and retailers use new recyclable, bio-based materials as a reaction on declining fossil resources and legislative requirements. Recycling is supported by the easy enzymatic separation of multilayers in the material. Additionally, they profit from an ecologic product image and resulting consumer attraction.
The IGF project presented here is funded by the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a decision of the German Bundestag.