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Annually, 1.3 billion metric tons of the food produced is lost or wasted (Gustavsson, Cederberg & Sonesson, 2011). Food losses and waste (FLW) account for the emission of 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalents (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2013).
To understand the industry challenges relating to sustainable cheese packaging, we went through thousands of scientific literature/ academic publications and patent literature. On the basis of which our team found the following major industrial problem in the cheese packaging arena:
- The adverse effect of phthalate- Phthalates increase the flexibility of plastics but leach out at high temperatures. It leads to higher levels of blood pressure. And damages the walls of arteries by oxidative stress and heart cells.
- Reactivity of High-intensity lights– Primary chemicals in LED break down and release oxygen. Thereby shortening shelf life and generating off colors and flavors. These off-flavors include ‘sun flavor’ and rancid.
- Effect of moisture and Oxygen- There are high chances of microbial growth. Due to the transmission of moisture & air through plastic packaging. And oxidation of cheese can also decrease the shelf life and spoil the texture.
- Environment Impact- Due to poor product design and lack of political infrastructure, the majority of plastic waste is sent to landfills or disposed of into the environment which leads to the emission of Green House gases.
Post comprehensive analysis we came across the following viable, innovative, and possibly the finest solutions for sustainable cheese packaging:
- Addition of bio-plastic or plant-based polymers (e.g.- polylactide, cellulose, polyhydroxyalkanoates) in the packaging material that does not leach out at high temperature. And with no side effects on the food.
- Packaging cheese in dark-colored packaging material or modified atmosphere packaging to avoid the penetration of light into the product. Along with it, multilayer packaging seems to be a viable option for the same.
- Utilizing multilayer packaging films, with barrier layer having specific oxygen and MVTR value which can be optimized according to the cheese type and introduction of active packaging layer.
- Utilizing Eco-friendly and sustainable packaging made from recycled materials or recycling the packaging films for another use. This will also help in efficient manufacturing processes by minimizing resources and negative impacts on the environment.
Innovations in Bio-Based Cheese Packaging
- Bio-nanocomposite films – The fabricated bio-nano composite films from chitosan, CMC, and ZnO-NPs can be used. These films have a good influence on the total bacterial counts, mold & yeast, and coliform in soft white cheese.
- Edible biodegradable container – The moisture from foods is prevented from being absorbed into the container. This container is used to store various foods and beverages like beer, water, cheese, salads.
- Bio-based food Packaging which reduces green gas emission – Clear Lam packaging is made from a lamination of plant-based, renewable plastic. It has an outer layer made from traditional petroleum-based plastic.
- Climate Friendly Packaging with CO2 reduction – ARLA packaging provides a CO2 reduction of 173,000 kg per year. Packaging consists of 75 percent bio-based foil from sugar cane.
Innovations in Light Blocking Packaging of Cheese Products
- Evaluation of Grated Graviera cheese under fluorescent light and dark
The reference discloses the effect of fluorescent light and dark under modified atmosphere packaging for Grated Graviera cheese. To maximize the shelf life of cheese in industrial applications, MAP (100% N2 or 50% N2/50% CO2) in combination with an impermeable-to-light container can be used.
- Fully biodegradable and recyclable, multilayer structure for cheese
The development of innovative fully biodegradable and recyclable, multilayer flexible and transparent structure that requires customized MAP. The coating will have natural waxes that will cover the inner layer of the multilayer structure.
- Biodegradable and multilayer packaging for Calabrian Provola cheese
The material includes Polylactic acid (PLA) coated with a silicon oxide barrier, and Cellophane, coated with resins. This provides an excellent oxygen barrier and extends the shelf life of cheese up to 65 days.
- Moldable polyester sheet and multilayered barrier sheet which is recyclable
These molded packaging sheets exhibit desired oxygen and water vapor barrier properties which can later be recycled.
- Light Blocking Dairy Packaging – Eklipse™
It shrinks sleeves. It also provides light protection and extends the shelf life for milk, cream, drinkable yogurt, protein beverages, and some juices.
Innovations in Multilayer Packaging of Cheese Products
- Enhanced barrier properties packaging film
The reference discloses a packaging film having a barrier layer comprising a multilayer structure to limit the passage of oxygen. The film is ideal to store many food products such as chunk cheese to increase shelf life.
- Sustainable, High-Barrier Packaging Films
Accredo Packaging introduces high-barrier packaging films which are sustainable. AccredoFlex, designed for gas-flushing and vacuum-packaging applications to preserve “first-day freshness” and protect product integrity.
- Multilayer barrier Packaging
Borealis used the ChemCycling technique to convert plastic waste into pyrolysis oil. The process involved is thermochemical processing. Multilayer films offer excellent barrier properties in terms of protection and preservation of food.
- High-Barrier PET Packaging
Amcor provides a high-barrier Transparent PET packaging for Cold-Fill Packaging of Dairy such as Yogurt. This preserves the food texture and taste and is sustainable packaging.
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Innovations in Recyclable Packaging of Cheese Products
- Polypropylene Packaging with 100% Recyclable material: FrieslandCampina packaging has Top and bottom made from PolyPropylene. It undergoes multiple recycle cycles and is reused.
- Calcium carbonate Packaging does not allow oxidation and increases shelf life. Often cheese wrap is manufactured without water, uses 55% less plastic resin than competitive plastic packaging, and is 100% recyclable. It creates an ideal microclimate against the proliferation of molds, hence doubling and tripling the life of cheese.
- The global eco-friendly food packaging market is expected to grow from USD 152.09 billion in 2019 to USD 257.43 billion by 2027. It is growing at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period 2020-2027.
- The recycled Content Packaging segment dominated the market and held the largest market share of 37.43% in the year 2019.
- The active packaging segment dominated the market and held the largest market share of 31.21% in the year 2019.
- The global fresh food packaging market size is estimated to grow from USD 79.9 billion in 2020 to USD 94.7 billion by 2025. The growth will be at a CAGR of 3.5% during the forecast period.
- The global cheese packaging market to surpass $5billion towards the end of 2029.
Collaboration & Innovation In Cheese Packaging
Berry Global Group (Evansville, Indiana) has launched a collaboration with Mondelez International. They will supply packaging containing chemically recycled plastic for use by Mondelez’s cream cheese. The package contains plastic material recovered using advanced recycling technology.
Arla has utilized Walki’s paper-based lid material for its 175g Luonto+ yoghurt in Finland. And for cottage cheese and crème fraiche in Sweden, to help consumers make more sustainable choices. The entire packaging can be recycled by pulping or burned for energy production.
You may connect with us to know more about sustainable cheese packaging.
Companies working In Greener Packaging
- ECOPRIME – Evision plastics developed a versatile alternative to virgin materials which is recyclable and suitable for food, beverages.
- Tipa’s – Flexible packaging that is made for food. Packaging is just as transparent, durable, and impermeable as conventional plastic packaging but is fully compostable! TIPA offers packaging for fresh, dry, chilled, baked, and frozen goods.
- EcoLamPlus – Constantia Flexibles has introduced EcoLamPlus packaging. It is for meat, cheese, and dairy products comprising layers of only PE lamination giving it a mono-material structure. This packaging reduces carbon footprint by almost 32% and ensuring moisture and oxygen barrier
- Arta Industrial Group – A new paperboard cup launched under the brand name, FiberCup for dairy goods packaging. The company uses recyclable pulp fibers and recycled PET plastic resins as raw materials to produce these products.
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