Research Topic

The New Challenges of Active, Intelligent and Smart Packaging in the Era of Food Sustainability

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About this Research Topic

The growing importance of nanotechnologies, the increasing relevance of bio-based packaging materials, and the urgent social responsibility for reducing food loss and waste along the supply chain are all shaping current research in Active Packaging, creating new concepts, advantages and opportunities. The ...

The growing importance of nanotechnologies, the increasing relevance of bio-based packaging materials, and the urgent social responsibility for reducing food loss and waste along the supply chain are all shaping current research in Active Packaging, creating new concepts, advantages and opportunities. The latest developments in sensors, indicators, and RFID technologies, combined with the knowledge generated in certain food fields (i.e., biotechnology, microbiology, processing etc.), offer new opportunities and challenges for Intelligent Packaging. In addition novel business models based on the e-commerce of packaged foods, new forms of logistic distribution, advanced printing technologies, and cradle-to-cradle approaches to sustainability offer important prospects for the adoption of Intelligent Packaging, supporting the circular economy strategies of packaged foods. Not least, regulatory agencies increasingly require relevant safety evaluations of Active and Intelligent Packaging intended for food contact applications. The risk assessment of this category of packaging material is being developed using advanced and in-depth methods to estimate the potential for exposure to novel substances as a result of migration.

The Active Packaging concept is based on the desired and modulated interaction between the material and the packaged product, or between the internal atmosphere created by the package and the package product. In this context, absorbing systems able to scavenge undesirable substances like oxygen and ethylene, or releasing systems capable of delivering antioxidant and antimicrobial substances represent the most common active solutions. Usually, Active Packaging addresses the most critical attributes of food, providing tuneable properties for meeting specific requirements. For example, it can extend shelf life of perishable foods to maintain their freshness, whilst ensuring quality and safety. In certain food products, it also has the potential to replace the traditional method of adding active compounds into food formulations, providing effective protection for food products. Intelligent Packaging has the ability to improve the functionalities of traditional packaging. It carries out specific functions (such as detecting, recording, communicating) to facilitate decision-making and corrective actions to extend or optimize shelf life, enhance safety, support biosecurity and warn the food operators and consumers about specific problems. As the evolution of society driven by information technology such as the development of block chain technology, it has made Intelligent Packaging more possible than ever to be utilized in food supply chain.

This Research Topic collection welcomes submissions on the themes outlined above, with a special attention on the most advanced researches and critical reviews that cover the technological efficacy, safety and sustainability of Active, and Intelligent Packaging for foods.


Keywords: Active packaging, Intelligent packaging, Food sustainability, Food safety, Shelf life, Food packaging, Smart packaging, Food supply chain


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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