About this Research Topic
Smart packaging involves both active and intelligent functions that concern both the protection and the communication of food from inside its packaging. Smart packaging reduces food loss during storage and transportation and provides us with the quality status of food throughout its distribution. This information is useful when assessing the quality of the food product, and has the potential to minimize the environmental impact of large-scale food processing.
Smart packaging can also provide additional functions that are not solely related to the protection of food, but which are related to active functions. Active functions can be categorized as active scavengers (used to gather gases after they are emitted from the food) and active emitters (used to release gases to the food). The intelligent functions of Smart Food Packaging refer to information on food quality changes and environmental changes provided during storage and transportation. This intelligent system automatically communicates information about food quality in accordance with time and temperature. The intelligent packaging system includes a variety of sensors (biosensors, chemical sensors, and gas sensors), indicators (TTI-time-temperature; integrity indicators; freshness indicators), RFID (radio frequency identification technology) and barcode technology, which enable this communication.
Recently, different active and intelligent packaging technologies have been developed and integrated into the packaging system in order to achieve higher food quality and safety, an extended shelf life, and more consumer convenience - all of which enable food to be processed more sustainably. Moreover, the environmental benefits of improving food preservation technologies and reducing food waste can be achieved by integrating both active and intelligent packaging systems which help to enhance food’s shelf life. This is achieved via the functions’ ability to continuously monitor the quality of food throughout the supply chain and its distribution. Currently, there is considerable research into the application of individual active and intelligent packaging systems, but research into the marriage of these technologies, rather than the separate study of them, still needs to be explored.
A gap also remains when considering the large-scale commercial application of these technologies. In order to overcome this issue, further study is needed with the purpose to reduce the cost of these technologies, as well as with an aim to develop sensors that can detect different markers or multiple analytes, minimize the size of the system, and develop reusable and durable sensors. In order to develop a cost-effective, powerful, multipurpose and smaller device for a smart packaging system, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary.
In this Research Topic, we hope to evaluate the current trends in research into smart packaging. The scope will cover the following areas, either as reviews, perspectives, original research articles, and short communications, including (but not limited to):
• Reasons behind the lack of application (active and intelligent) of smart packaging technologies at a commercial level, and possible solutions to encourage the application of these technologies;
• Discussion of smart packaging advantages in comparison to the conventional packaging system (that currently only focuses on containing food from the external environment);
• Analysis of smart packaging in different food sectors and the potential to combine active and intelligent packaging technologies to develop a real smart packaging system;
• Active packaging material development;
• Research into active gas scavengers and gas emitters;
• Physical and chemical properties of smart packaging materials;
• Application of edible and bio-based packaging and sensors (biosensors, chemical sensors, and gas sensors) for smart-packaging;
• Development of indicators (TTI-time-temperature; integrity indicators; freshness indicators) and their uses;
• Discussion of RFID and barcode technology;
• Nano packaging.
Keywords: Smart Food Packaging, active functions, intelligent functions, food, environmental impact, active scavengers, active emitters, food quality, RFID
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.