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Active packaging is defined as packaging  in which subsidiary constituent have been deliberately include in or on either the packaging material or the package headspace to enhance the performance of package system( Robertson, 2006).  This phrase emphasizes the importance of deliberately including a substance with the intention of enhancing the food product. Active packaging is an extension of the protection function of a package and is commonly used to protect against oxygen and moisture.

Active packaging performs some desired role other than to provide an inert barrier between the product and the outside environment. It sometimes referred to as interactive or “smart” packaging, is intended to sense internal or external environmental change and to respond by changing its own properties or attributes and hence the internal package environment.  The active component may be part of the packaging material or may be an insert or attachment to the inside of the pack.

Active packaging can enable the properties of the package to more adequately meet the requirements of the product. Therefore, the forms and applications of active packaging are diverse, addressing specific situations in the protection and presentation of foods and other products.

For example:

The tinplate can, for instance, provides a sacrificial layer of tin that protects the food from accumulation of catalytically active iron salts. Antioxidant release from waxed-paper packs for Breakfast cereals have been used, as has been the impregnation of cheese wraps with sorbic acid. Sachets of iron powder have been described as ‘‘deoxidizers,’’ ‘‘free oxygen absorbers,’’ and ‘‘oxygen scavengers’’.  

Goals of Active Packaging:

Active Packaging is chosen to enhance the ability of conventional packaging to help deliver the product t used in a desired state. Active packaging system are developed with the goal of extending shelf life of the food and increasing the period of time that the food is high quality. Active packaging technologies include some Physical, chemical, or biological action which changes interactions between a package, product, and/ or headspace of package in order to get a desired outcome. The most common active  The most common active systems scavenger oxygen from the package or the product and may even be activated by an outside source such as UV light.

Forms of Active Packaging

Active packaging is typically found in two types of systems; sachets and pads which are placed inside of package, and active ingredients that are incorporate directly into packaging materials.

1. Sachets and Other Inserts

  • Desiccants.

  • Oxygen Scavengers.

  • Ethanol and Sulfur Dioxide Emitters

  • Ethylene Absorbers

2. Plastic-Based Active Packaging Materials


Author - Radhika Rewri



  • chhavi_2 October 14, 2014 Log in or register to post comments

    Comment: <p>Have recently read somewhere there are various ways to provide &quot;oxygen scavenging&quot; feature in a packaging. Any idea what are these ways?</p>

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