Packaging innovations

Plant-based food packaging Biodegradable packaging looks set to be the way of the future. A sharp rise in demand for natural products and healthier food added to the stability of maize prices versus those of petroleum-based polymers have led manufacturers to exploit packaging made from the corn-based polymer PLA (polylactic acid). In direct competition with polyethylene terephthalate packaging (PET) that currently dominates the market, PLA is used to make clear plastic that can be used for clear food trays and bottles for still liquids of a comparable strength to that of PET packaging and having similar flavour and aroma barrier. It degrades to compost during recycling within 75 to 80 days and is used by many large food retail companies worldwide, including US-based Naturally Iowa for organic milk and dairy products, Auchan in France for its salads and pastry and the Belgian retailer Delhaize. Market forecasts for biodegradable plastics is estimated at 20% per year according to chemicals manufacturer BASF. Cool cartons Amcor Fibre Packaging Australasia has developed Amcor Hydro-ArmourTM cartons. These innovative cartons are submersible and will revolutionize the hydro-cooling of produce. The first product released is the Hydro-ArmourTM Bean Box, a water-resistant paper/film laminate product that withstands the high-moisture chilling environment of hydro-cooling. The new boxes save space and costs: more beans are shipped per pallet. They are also recyclable and replace polystyrene boxes. The Amcor Hydro-ArmourTM range comes in black or printed versions used to highlight products. Find out more: