For about 10 years now, “freshcut” products (freshly cut fruit and vegetables) and fresh, individually portioned cheese have been gaining in importance. This has led to a fast-growing market in the retail food industry. Criticism about the lack of freshness and fast microbiological degradation has also increased despite all the positive economic effects. A remedy can be found in new packaging materials and new packaging designs. Current packaging solutions allow a very limited gas exchange between the interior and exterior of the package. They do not take the needs of freshly cut food for an optimum atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide into account. Nor do they account for the fact that respiration processes of the food itself subsequently further modify the gas atmosphere in the package interior. In this context, the objective of this project is to develop a packaging concept for regional fruit, vegetable and cheese products based on materials termed permselective packaging materials, i.e. packaging materials with selective gas permeability for oxygen and carbon dioxide. Freshly cut fruit salads and wedges of fresh white-mould cheese (e.g. Camembert) will serve as examples of packaged products. Particular emphasis will be placed on ecologically beneficial packaging materials as well as their simple and easy recyclability. Both synthetic and bio-based materials shall be considered, such that a well-balanced picture emerges.
The project consortium consists of relevant associations and SME companies of the entire value chain. Expertise in the relevant areas, i.e. numerical simulation, food packaging, polymer films, additives, fillers, paper and cardboard, is covered by the participating research performers.
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.