Shelf life prolongation of fresh produce by functional edible Coating

Workgroup: Packaging materials

Scientific Partners and Guidance:
Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Dr. C. Hauser

IGF: 95 EN
Financing: BMWi
Duration: 2013-2015

Convenience foods are a rapidly growing market in Europe. Cut, ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables have an important share of this market. These products do, however, have a very limited shelf-life. In recent years there have been frequent cases of illness caused by ready-to-eat fresh produce such as salads and slices of melon. Micro-organisms are the biggest culprit here. These are spread by the cutting process and rapidly reproduce on the moist cut surfaces.

The objective of the FreshCoat project is to develop edible coatings for cut fresh products (e.g. melon, salads, bean shoots, and strawberries) in order to increase the shelf-life and improve food safety and quality. The coatings will be adapted to the requirements of specific products. The base materials will be natural edible biopolymers such as starch, cellulose, alginate, and chitosan. Added to these will be natural antimicrobial plant extracts such as bacteriocins and conventional preservatives.

Besides the coating functionality, the development work will also consider economic and sensory aspects. Furthermore, the coatings must be able to be applied using a viable industrial technology (spraying, immersion, vacuum infiltration). The design of the outer packaging for convenience products will also form part of the development work. The packaging must be economical, eco-friendly, and sustainable.

The research project will benefit consumers (enhanced food safety) and also producers and retailers because marketing and sales channels can be extended due to the prolonged product shelf-life.

The project work will involve close collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Center of Bioimmobilisation and Innovative Packaging Materials at the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szeczecin, Poland. The project will be coordinated by the Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung IVLV.

Project documents



The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action via the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.