New Packaging Extends Shelf Life of Cheese and Pasta

While keeping up with indushutterstock_71591752stry news I came across a blog about new food packaging for cheese and fresh pasta. This caught my eye and really spoke to me – cheese and pasta are my two main food groups. Can you really blame me? The cheesiness of homemade macaroni, warm queso dip, or a heaping pile of spaghetti with a mound of delicious pasta sauce (and yes I WILL have bread with that) are a few food items currently making my mouth water. To be frank it’s only 9:00 a.m.

Now that I’ve made my, and maybe your, stomach rumble let’s get down to the science behind this packaging. Researchers from Plastics Technology Center Aimplas in Spain developed a new multi-layer, transparent packaging for cheese and fresh pasta that extends the product’s shelf life. According to Plastics Today, polylactic acid (PVA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), adhesives and a wax coating made from olive leaves are combined to create the material.

PLA is easily recyclable with great mechanical properties. PVOH is water-soluble and a barrier to gases, which means it disappears during the washing process – allowing the PLA to be recycled. The PLA and PVOH are combined with biodegradable adhesives. The wax coating made from olive leaves serves as a water vapor barrier and does not wash away during the washing process, which acts as a plasticizer for PLA and improves the material’s flexibility. All of these things add up to a beautiful material that protects cheese and fresh pasta from being exposed to humidity and oxygen, which protects products from bacteria and fungi.

Not only is the packaging material flexible and recyclable, it’s also eco-friendly. Plastic Europe reported the material’s cost is 25 percent less than traditional packaging and has a lower environmental impact and carbon footprint of 29 percent. This new generation of packaging was developed as part of a research project funded by the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency, located in Brussels.

Packaging innovations are a hot topic in the news and are heavily covered on our blog (we have 29 pages of blogs related to food packaging, to be exact.) One of our recent posts about Klear Can explored the creation of a recyclable and BPA alternative to metal cans.  Our scientists have a long list of experience with testing food packaging. One of our favorites was the case of the stinky cheese puffs.

We welcome your questions about food packaging testing and invite you to contact us to discuss your analytical needs.

Now I think it’s time to figure out what’s for lunch!

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