NanoPack: State-of-the-art packaging to improve food safety and reduce food waste
NanoPack is an exciting new Horizon-2020 funded project aiming to develop and demonstrate antimicrobial food packaging films based on natural nanomaterials to extend the shelf-life of perishable foods. Harnessing the power of nanotechnology, natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) will be applied as reliable and safe carriers of bioactive compounds. These will be dispersed in polymers, to produce plastic films which will exhibit a broad spectrum antimicrobial activity, unmet by existing state-of-the-art materials. The resulting films will be used to develop active packaging for use across a range of food products. The project will develop, scale up and run pilot lines in operational industrial environments to manufacture antimicrobial films that are commercially feasible and accepted by retailers and consumers alike.
WHY THIS PROJECT
Food spoilage, caused by microbial growth, is a major cause of both food losses and foodborne illness. In Europe, despite being the global region with the lowest burden from foodborne illness, almost 3000 deaths per year are caused by preventable diarrheal foodborne diseases caused by contaminated food (1).
At the same time, an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes, or 32% of all food produced globally, are lost or wasted each year (2). This also represents a massive waste of the valuable resources used in food production (water, energy, work, money), and CO2 emission produced from food waste rotting in landfills, which contributes towards climate change.
Food safety and food waste are therefore high priority issues for global and EU organisations, as evidenced by initiatives like the World Health Organization’s strategic plan for food safety 2013-2022 and the European Parliament’s proposal to reduce food waste by 50% before 2030 (3, 4).
Innovative food packaging is a promising solution for addressing these issues. Nanotechnology in particular has been identified by the European Co ...