Their research was published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials IF:25.809 earlier this year: "A Self-Healing Nanofiber-Based Self-Responsive Time-Temperature Indicator for Securing a Cold-Supply Chain." This cold-chain safety sticker creates an image on it when exposed to room temperature (10 0C or higher). Room temperature exposure history and time throughout the cold chain delivery process are indicated but cannot be manually edited. When refrigerated or frozen foods are exposed to room temperature, usually bacteria begin to grow and reproduce. However, it is difficult to see visually as certain bacteria do not affect the taste and smell of foods and frozen foods have almost the same appearance even after melting and refreezing. The core technology of the cold-chain safety sticker is nanofibre film. The researchers attempted to attach a typical film on the back of this newly developed film. At low temperatures, the nanofibre film has a stable structure where thin threads intersect each other, making it opaque because the light is scattered. When exposed to room temperature for a period of time, this structure collapses. Specifically, the thin threads start to melt and become entangled with each other. This allows light to transmit through the film, making it appear transparent. Then the image produced on the typical film on the back becomes visible from the front, showing that the food may have spoiled. The researchers found a way to control the time that is required for the film to become transparent when exposed to room temperature, accounting for variations in spoilage times of different foods. So each sticker was designed to become transparent after a minimum of 30m and a maximum of 24 hours of exposure. This was achieved by controlling the composition and thickness of the nanofibres. Dr Dongyeop Oh from the KRICT said, "This sticker, once exposed to room temperature, cannot be restored to its original state, even if one attempts to refrigerate or freeze it again. Also, room-temperature exposure time cannot be manually adjusted. This means that there is virtually no room for any manipulation." “It does not require modularization, accurately measures localized or gradient heat and functions even after crushing, cutting, and when weight?loaded in a manner that existing TTIs cannot. It also contains no drainable chemicals and is attachable to various shapes because it operates through an intrinsic physical response,” he added. The cold-chain safety sticker can be widely used not only for food product applications but also for the cold-chain distribution of expensive medicine and medical supplies, they say. This is because the sticker is thin and flexible. It is estimated manufacturing cost is low at one cent per unit.
Nestlé Waters North America Expands Use of 100% Recycled Plastic (rPET) in Three Additional Brands, Doubles rPET Use across U.S. Domestic Portfolio
“We have made significant strides on our journey to use more sustainable packaging,” said David Tulauskas, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of NWNA. “Bottles made with other bottles – like these – provide tangible proof that recycling works and the circular economy for plastics is achievable. By using recycled plastic, we are breathing new life into existing materials, reducing the need for new plastic and our carbon footprint, and supporting the 757,000 jobs in recycling and reuse activities in the U.S.” The packaging conversion for these three brands means that NWNA has now doubled the amount of rPET used since 2019 across its U.S. domestic portfolio to 16.5%. This step brings the company closer to achieving its goals of using 25% rPET across its U.S. domestic portfolio by 2021 and 50% rPET by 2025. By accelerating the use of rPET in its bottles, NWNA is leading the shift from virgin plastic to recycled plastic and helping to create an end-market for sustainable rPET. Using recycled plastic can help keep it out of landfills, waterways and oceans, and reduces greenhouse gases by 67% compared to using new plastic. “As we continue our brand-by-brand approach to convert our portfolio to recycled plastic packaging, we are building on the rich history of Ozarka, Deer Park and Zephyrhills and giving them new purpose,” said Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of NWNA. “By embedding sustainability into the foundation of our brands, we are able to deliver a superior product experience that also aligns with what our consumers want and what the planet needs.” To help consumers identify the new rPET bottles, all three brands will include a new message on the labels of the 20oz, 700mL, 1L and 1.5L bottles, stating they are both 100% recyclable and now are also made from 100% recycled plastic. To provide greater transparency about the source of the water, the labels will also include a QR code that allows people to scan and track the journey of the water they’re drinking, as well as the bottle. Ozarka will be launching a TV, digital and social media campaign this summer to inform Texans of the new rPET bottles. Understanding that bottles need to be recycled in order to create bottles with other bottles, Zephyrhills will be launching limited edition labels that encourage consumers to recycle through a bold message stating, ‘I’m Not Trash! I’m 100% Recyclable.’ This message will accompany the “100% recycled” message on the applicable bottle sizes. NWNA’s ability to expand its use of recycled plastic partially relies on existing bottles being recycled when empty. Unfortunately, right now, less than 30% of PET bottles are recycled and many recovered beverage containers are being down-cycled and used in non-food contact applications versus being made back into beverage containers. While giving a plastic beverage container another life in products such as carpets and textiles ensures one more use, it does not represent the highest and best use of food-grade recycled material. Recognizing these challenges in obtaining enough rPET to incorporate into more of our product packaging, NWNA will continue to work collectively with industry, NGOs, governments and consumers to address critical issues related to infrastructure, collection, policy, consumer education, and development of end-markets for recycled materials. “Our resolve to lead the industry in the use of recycled plastic in our packaging has never been stronger. Through collaborative relationships with stakeholders along the entire recycling value chain and long-term agreements with suppliers, we work to provide stability to our suppliers and reinforce our commitment to this market,” said Tulauskas. “This means that we often pay more for recycled plastic than we would if we purchased virgin plastic. This is an investment we prioritize for the business, given our responsibility as a producer of packaged goods and our commitment to sustainability as we work toward a waste-free future.” To help the underfunded and often outdated recycling infrastructure in the U.S., NWNA made a $6 million investment in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund to support projects that help increase recycling capabilities throughout the country. In 2019, Poland Spring collaborated with The Recycling Partnership to launch the first Instagram recycling hotline to help Americans understand what is recyclable in their communities. NWNA was also the first beverage company to add How2Recycle information on the labels of its major U.S. brands, reminding consumers to empty the bottle and replace the cap before recycling.
The new pack had to fulfil a range of requirements, such as leaving no algae taste and smell of on the packaged food, and no colour leakage or quick softening of the pack. In addition, the algae should be reusable in their entirety, not just individual components. Over two years on, what results did the project yield? Researchers produced the first macro algae prototype, a sheet of ten by ten centimetres, which was recently tested by Nordsee customers in Bremerhaven and Bremen in Germany for its feel, smell, consistency, look and taste. Consumers were taken with the sustainable concept behind the idea. "I was pleasantly surprised at how thin and stable the algae material is," a customer said during the test. Food technologist Ramona Bosse from Hochschule Bremerhaven reports that customers also liked the taste and the look of the material. "Testers said that the green-blue coloured box tasted slightly salty, but not fishy. Many participants were surprised at the neutral taste and smell of the material." In a follow-up project to Mak-Pak, the prototype will be optimised for manufacture on an industrial scale. Nordsee expects to be able to offer the new packaging on a commercial basis in two to three years.
UPM Raflatac partners with Vellamo for bottled water industry’s first and only wood-based clear plastic label material
“This is an ideal collaboration to showcase how labels matter when it comes to sustainable packaging,” says Timo Kekki, Vice President, Films Business, UPM Raflatac. “Our innovative labeling material answers brand owners’ needs to replace traditional fossil-based virgin materials with renewable ones. The collaboration with Vellamo is an excellent example of how we are labeling a smarter future beyond fossils together with our partners.” Forest Film PP offers companies like Vellamo an efficient and impactful way to reach beyond their sustainability goals without compromising on product performance. It is made from 100 percent renewable wood-based raw materials in an ISCC certified value chain and has identical quality and performance as conventional fossil-based films. “Vellamo is one of Mother Nature’s perfect creations and we’re excited to share how we’ve taken great measures to ensure our unique taste, purity and sustainability for the health of our customers and planet by achieving a neutral carbon footprint across production, packaging and logistics,” says Petteri Ahonen, CEO, Ice Age Water Ltd. Vellamo adheres to strict natural mineral water standards to maintain its official seal of approval and high-quality status of being naturally pure, unique in taste, bottled at the source, and containing no environmental pollution or added minerals or sweeteners. The high-quality, sustainable label is an integral part of the Vellamo water brand and supports Vellamo’s CO2ZERO Sustainability Program which aims to reduce CO2 emissions during the product’s lifecycle to zero. The label also features UPM Raflatac’s RafMore, an innovative smart label solution that allows consumers to scan the label unique to every Vellamo bottle and access real-time product lifecycle and carbon footprint data. UPM Raflatac recently expanded its Forest Film product range with the industry’s first wood-based polyethylene label film for home and personal care labeling applications.
Wildcorn founded 2016 in Berlin, produces a range of 100% organic, healthy and flavourful snacks, including dry roasted popcorn as a healthy alternative to crisps. In 2017 the company launched its first sustainability program in partnership with Mellifera (the German head organisation for bee protection) to offset their use of agricultural resources by planting flower strips to rebuild/maintain ecosystems. The joint project to establish a new sustainable packaging standard began soon after the launch of Innovia’s Propafilm™ Strata high barrier film which quickly achieved the ‘Made for Recycling’ logo from Interseroh, an Independent German recycling and consulting company. Alasdair McEwen, Global Product Manager Packaging, Innovia Films explains “This certification proves the recyclability of our new Strata BOPP film. It has been designed to be a standalone mono filmic solution or, to be used in laminate constructions to be ‘recycle ready’, or recyclable in countries which have the infrastructure to recycle polypropylene.” Tobias Enge, Founder of Wildcorn explains “Our products are wholesome natural organic snacks, providing a heathier alternative to consumers. But as a consumer goods company we are responsible to look at the complete ecological impact of our product and packaging waste is one of the key challenges of our generation. Today’s emphasis on a ‘circular economy’ is very prominent so we decided to find a structure for our packaging that is fully recyclable while providing premium product protection. Ensuring that our consumers still experience the same high quality and taste they have come to expect. ” To make the Wildcorn pack, a lamination of Propafilm™ Strata and a white cavitated OPP was used. This construction was also tested by Interseroh and they confirmed that it was fully recyclable, awarding the pack the ‘Made for Recycling’ certification. Propafilm™ Strata provides a very effective barrier to aroma, mineral oils and oxygen even at high relative humidity levels ensuring increased shelf life and reduced food waste. It is glossy, is food contact compliant and chlorine free. The film is suitable for use in a range of markets, is printable and offers a wide seal and hot tack range.
Drink Technology India is the international trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry. It covers the full spectrum of the liquid food and beverage sector in India. The show is divided into different exhibition sectors like soft drinks, beer and brewery equipment up to liquid food and for the first-time oils and fats.
The new boxes have been created in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and feature UK-first technology that allows a smartphone to detect a unique on-pack code and playback labelling and allergen information to the user.
The trial comes after research from RNIB revealed that nine in ten blind and partially sighted people feel that information on food packaging is difficult or impossible to read.
The new technology, called NaviLens, can be used both in-store and in the home. It allows smartphones to pick up an on-pack code from up to three metres distance when a blind or partially sighted shopper points their device in the direction of the cereal box.
This then alerts the phone and the shopper can choose to have the ingredients, allergen, and recycling information read aloud to them – as well as reading it on their device using accessibility tools.
The technology is currently used across Barcelona, Madrid, and Murcia city’s transport systems, making the cities easier to navigate for thousands of visually impaired citizens, and has now been introduced in the UK for the first time as part of the Kellogg’s trial. This is also the first time NaviLens has been used on food packaging.
If successful, the business hopes to adapt more of its cereal boxes to include this technology.
Chris Silcock, Kellogg’s managing director, commented: “Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss and are unable to simply read the information on our cereal boxes. That’s why we partnered with RNIB to trial special boxes of Coco Pops with NaviLens technology - a first for food packaging. If the trial is a success, we would hope that it could appear on more of our cereal boxes for visually impaired shoppers to access.”
Marc Powell, strategic accessibility lead at RNIB, added: “Important information on packaging can often be in very small print, making it difficult for blind and partially sighted people to read. This can make shopping a real challenge, especially for those with specific dietary requirements – as they can’t see the all-important nutritional information.
“This trial with Kellogg’s using NaviLens technology has raised the bar in inclusive and accessible packaging design – allowing people with low or no vision to locate a product on the shelf and access all information about it completely independently for the very first time.”
The limited-edition World Sight Day Coco Pops cereal boxes are also embossed with braille and the on-pack information is in a larger font size.
Amcor, a global leader in packaging, in collaboration with Nestlé, today launched the world’s first recyclable flexible retort pouch. The new high barrier pouch, using Amcor’s AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable solution, will first appear in stores in the Netherlands in October 2020.
Amcor and Nestlé partnered to overcome one of the largest challenges facing the industry – the inability to recycle retort flexible packaging – and have achieved a technical breakthrough which underscores both companies’ long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The partners collaborated during the product development process, testing for heat resistance, machine performance, shelf-life and recyclability in the real world.
“Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible,” says Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA. “This high-barrier, high-heat resistant, packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.”
Flexible retort packaging is a modern alternative to metal cans, and it can improve the carbon footprint of hundreds of consumer products thanks to its light weight, resource efficiency, ease of transportation and by minimizing food waste. Adding recyclability to its list of properties will further improve the environmental profile of this packaging solution, which has a reduced carbon footprint of up to 60%.
The new pouch meets the packaging guidelines for a circular economy recently published by the CEFLEX Consortium. Project Coordinator and Workstream Consultant for CEFLEX, Graham Houlder, says, “This is a great example of how – through innovation – companies can solve even the biggest challenges to recyclability. Recyclable retort packaging is a revolutionary advance and will have a huge impact in pet food and beyond.”
The breakthrough innovation underscores Amcor’s unique capabilities and long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The company is on the path to fulfilling its pledge to develop all of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
These are all building blocks of the EU Green Deal — and they should also guide our green recovery. To ensure this, we must also secure that European regulation provides a clear and predictable framework to enable us to move in this direction together. Otherwise it may not encourage businesses to invest in the next generation of environmental innovation. And we will lack viable solutions to reach our goals. A pertinent example is the Single-Use Plastics Directive, to be implemented next year. We must ensure that it becomes a tool for the future, supporting innovation and the development of new, sustainable solutions. Currently there is a risk, that the European Commission will recommend that the Directive also encompass products made of wood fiber – paper and board. Companies that have been working to develop circular, fiber-based substitutes for single-use plastic products risk seeing their investments become redundant. The economic consequences would be significant, but we would also miss an important opportunity to promote circular solutions and reduce our dependency on fossil materials. That, for us, goes against the goals of the Green Deal – and the green recovery, that should now be our main focus. As industry representatives, we are serious about our commitment. We have set ourselves ambitious sustainability ambitions and are working hard to develop innovative solutions that can make it possible for Europe – and the world – to reach the goals of the Green Deal. We cooperate with other leading companies across the value chain and wish to partner with all those who share this vision. Together we can make a difference – and learn from each other. To decision-makers, our message is clear: Hold on to the Green Deal and make sure that we have the best possible framework in which to innovate. That will ensure that we start building a new and better future.
A smart tactic to draw attention for a product roundup of new products for packaging or other markets is to lead with the best or most photogenic development. It’s doubly advantageous when said product is a world’s first of some kind, which is why LifeFuels, “the world's first smart nutrition bottle,” headed the gallery of 8 Unexpected Ways Beverage Packaging Innovates, published June 2020.
In short, the reusable LifeFuels' 16.9oz/500mL smart nutrition bottle turns ordinary water into a beverage with flavor, essential vitamins and nutrients using small bottles of liquid ingredient concentrates called “Pods.” The Pod, which can refill the LifeFuels bottles 30 times, are equipped with a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.
The company will shortly bring an even more sustainable packaging innovation to the platform: Cylindrical-shaped Modules, or Mods, which are powdered ingredients packs made of food-grade film that fully dissolve in water.
A Quick Response (QR) code printed with edible ink on the Mod film connects with the smart nutrition tracking platform via the LifeFuels smartphone app.The innovative packaging eliminates the need for the usual plastic tubs, scoopers, or single-serving packets typical of the powdered beverage market. The company is planning to launch with at least two flavors, but more are possible. Mod pricing is also to be determined.
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