In a joint presentation, Angela Morgan, director of marketing, strategy, and business development for Aptar, and AIPIA managing director Eef de Ferrante covered how active packaging can mitigate food waste and introduced the Smart Food Chain Consortium. In an insightful presentation, Morgan gave a high-level overview of the problem of food waste globally and the technologies that could serve to make an impact. With the amount of food wasted estimated at around 30% of production, the scale of the problem is huge and, as she explained, different regions face a variety of differing issues to address the problem – some places need more help with the harvesting, storage, and transportation phase, while others need to offer consumer-based solutions where food is wasted in the home on an industrial scale.
Aptar is one of the leading companies to actually bring solutions to the market, not only in the food sector but also for sensitive and biobased pharmaceuticals, even for test kits and other products. The company’s 3-Phase Activ-Polymer Material has the ability to incorporate single or multiple chemistries into a polymer solution that retains the performance of the chemistries while maintaining the physical properties of the polymer, she explained.
Channels created within a polymer allow the movement of gases. ‘Active’ particles are added to the polymer to – Adsorb or Absorb (moisture); Scavenge (gases, odors, reactive impurities, formaldehyde, and other VOCs); Release-Emit (aromas, biocides, antimicrobials, nutrients, and CO2). Gas diffusion is controlled through the channel composition. The company also produces tailored products for different food types such as FreshWell for fresh produce and SeaWell for seafood as we have written before.
The whole food supply chain is under enormous scrutiny just now and AIPIA, in conjunction with consulting organization Berenschot, is in the process of gathering together a consortium of companies from every corner of the ecosystem to create a Smart Food Chain. AIPIA is preparing the funded initiative to minimize waste in the food supply chains. This will be achieved by developing and implementing effective smart packaging technologies to restructure conventional food supply chains, says de Ferrante.
Funding is being sought under the Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking (KDT JU) which is a public-private partnership supporting research, development, and innovation in electronic components and systems; and also, from the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SIRA) which has a remit for intelligent logistic systems including sensing and monitoring for food chains. De Ferrante explained that applications to join the consortium are still being accepted and details of the project and an application are available on the AIPIA website. An early morning meeting held during the Congress attracted over 40 companies.