Smart packaging is here! See how is changing the retail
Packaging is getting closer to the era of smart revolutionary methods to ensure the consumer about the quality of the product delivered. Intelligent packaging and dynamic shelf pricing for food are some of the solutions identified by scientists as methods to tackle food waste.
A research team from Wageningen University is testing several prototypes of packages to find out what works best in preserving the food for a longer time without altering some of its characteristics required by the consumers, such as freshness, taste, preservative-free.
Smart packaging is the way of the future believes Dr Jenneke Heising and there are several methods that can be seen as smart in the packaging industry, as she explained. "Active packaging protects food by reducing negative factors. For example, oxygen in the air affects the quality of many products. You can embed oxygen scavengers into the packaging material. These scavengers ensure the oxygen level inside the package drops so that very little oxygen (or even none at all) reacts with the product, extending its shelf life.", said Dr Heising, according to a Rabobank article.
The package can also include antimicrobial materials and components to curb bacterial growth and therefore to reduce the use of preservatives in food products. Another method consists in creating a smart package that can indicate the quality of a product by showing the temperatures that it has been exposed. "You can gauge the conditions that strongly influence the quality of a product, like a temperature. With some products, you can predict the shelf life by measuring the temperature history with a so-called TTI time-temperature indicator. This indicates temperature exposure over a certain period of time", added the scientist. In this way, a retailer can make better logistical decisions at various levels of the supply chain in order to prevent food waste. There is also a new strategy recommended in retail that refers to dynamic pricing as a way of convincing supermarket consumers to buy products with a shorter shelf life for a lower price, further reducing food waste.
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