General background information
Currently, the material of choice for trays for fresh food packaging like meat is mainly thermo-formable plastic (PET, PP or PS) or plastic-paper composite materials. However the recovery rate of those materials is still not sufficient. Indeed about one third of the packaging material is wasted nowadays in Europe. In order to meet this problem, novel compostable materials have to be developed exhibiting similar barrier properties for the protection of the packaged good. Beneath recyclability and compostability another important feature for modern packaging material is the antimicrobial functionality with the help of active and food contact approved components. This should lead to an extension in shelf-life of fresh food products, resulting in a reduction in food waste.
Need for the project from the viewpoint of SMEs
The market of fresh food in ever smaller packing units is constantly rising. This stresses the need for urgent solutions. The variety of demands from customers calls for tailor-made and small volume applications, which are typically the market for SMEs.
The novel packaging material for trays will open new markets for SMEs for producers of packaging materials and also fresh food. It is expected that this new packaging solution will penetrate the market through the “green thinking” upper middle class, probably around 10% of the market in the participating countries (Germany, Belgium and Poland), and then reach the main stream of users. The business can be extended to other countries in Europe or in the world like the US, where active packaging for fresh food is becoming a big market.
The resulting growth in market share will lead to the creation of new jobs in the mentioned sectors, and will strengthen existing jobs. Finally food retailers will have very positive impacts from the project results as they can offer an eco-friendly packaging solution, which also positively influences the quality of fresh food.