Wrappers smarten up to protect food

Perhaps you may like to read something a bit different this morning... I present you Active Packaging!

Unwrapping your shopping to find you have bought mouldy bread, rotten strawberries and sour milk could soon become a thing of the past ­ thanks to a range of emerging "active packaging" technologies.

While conventional packaging simply acts as a barrier that protects food, active packaging can do a lot more. Some materials interact with the product to improve it in some way, or give the consumer better information on the state it is in.

For instance, they may soak up oxygen inside a wrapper to help prevent food spoilage or show whether potentially dangerous foods like red meat and chicken have been stored at unsafe temperatures. Others kill bacteria, and some can reveal whether the food is beginning to go off.

In a small way, containers that do more than just store goods are already familiar. Probably the best-known active package on the market today is the widget-equipped beer can. Yanking off the ring pull causes the pressure in the can to fall, triggering a nitrogen-filled ball inside to release its pressurised payload and give the beer a foamy head. The latest attempt to make a smarter beer container is a self-cooling lager can (see graphic).

View: Read more at New Scientist

News source: New Scientist

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