Introduction

The EcoPackLab project aims to create a sustainable and innovative packaging system for quality improvement of packed food during its storage. The project makes use of both University of Bologna laboratories and industrial supply chains, by means of an integrated and interdisciplinary approach on quality, safety, sustainability and logistics efficiency, that takes advantages of integrated and complementary knowledge in the various aspects of the food packaging area.

EcoPackLab prototype front
EcoPackLab prototype side

The replacement of oil-based materials by eco-friendly solutions (derived from renewable resources, biodegradable, compostable) is attracting much interest in the food industry packaging. However, although such goal is largely agreed due to environmental and social needs, this substitution is hindered by several factors:

- the economic constrain that new materials should be processed by the same industrial utilities and systems, currently used for the production of traditional packaging;

- the requirement that novel eco-friendly materials have to maintain the performances of traditional ones, offering at the same time a better environmental compatibility;

- the need of a low manufacturing costs for new materials, which also has to be easy to supply and sustainable.

All these constraints have significantly limited the production of eco-friendly polymers suitable as food packaging materials.

Another key aspect is related to the production of active packaging solutions that can contribute to reduce the microorganisms growth and/or other kinds of deteriorative phenomena in foods, thus reducing and/or avoiding the use of preservatives in their formulations.

EcoPackLab aims to create a sustainable and innovative packaging system for quality improvement of packed food during its shelf-life. The project makes use of both University of Bologna laboratories and industrial supply chains, by means of an integrated and interdisciplinary approach on quality, safety, sustainability and logistics efficiency, that takes advantages of integrated and complementary knowledge in the various aspects of the food packaging area. The plurality of skills in EcoPackLab will also promote and improve the professional qualification of the team of young researchers involved.

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