Innovative applications for packaging and preservation of food and beverages

Finding the perfect packaging to extend the shelf life of cut and peeled products is a real challenge. The key is to control the atmosphere inside the container, explains Eva Almenar, associate professor at the Faculty of Packaging, MSU. The famous researcher will participate in the first edition of Food Pack Summit Mexico 2017.

The need to meet the requirements for shelf life extension, food safety, freshness, convenience, communication and environmental protection, among others, has led the food and beverage industry to use new packaging materials, formats and technologies.

Eva Almenar, an associate professor at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University in the United States of America, has conducted various researches to control the atmosphere inside food containers, but above all she has conducted researches to find the optimal combination of the current method.

According to experts, the key to finding the perfect container that extends the life of cut and peeled produce is to control the atmosphere inside the container, but the possible gas combinations are endless. Each of them affects different media in a unique way.

In order to find innovative methods for preserving food, Almenar and his international team of collaborators worked with onions (because it is one of the best-selling vegetables) specially cut into pieces and prepared to be served ready on a plate or added to a stew.

Normally prepared onions have a short shelf life. Not long after, they change color, become soft, lose nutrients and taste, and become transparent. Experiments have shown that the best tanks are those that help maintain an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide and low in oxygen. Combined with a disinfection treatment with sodium hypochlorite, which is a common bleaching agent, chopped onions could remain in the tank for two weeks. Preserving its taste and quality.

Although the technology applied by the Spanish researcher is not new, it has rarely been used in fresh produce, compared to other types of food. The novelty is that the optimal combination of atmosphere and disinfectant has never been tested.

“The whole fresh product or cut breathes like us. If you put vegetables in a container, what you are doing is sealing off the environment of that product. What it will do is trap the air that is in the upper part of the tank. If they breathe faster, they will use it up faster. That’s why some containers have holes that allow oxygen to circulate so that the product doesn’t drown,” explains Almenar.

Eva Almenar received her doctorate from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology of Spain, through her work in active packaging. He has more than 10 years of experience in applied research of materials for containers and packaging, preserving the properties of pre-sliced ​​and fresh foods, extending the shelf life and reducing food waste through more efficient packaging. As co-chair of the IFT’s Food Packaging Section in 2016, this body of food technologists presented him with the Outstanding Leader Award.

The researcher will be present at the first edition of the Food Pack Summit and will share with us what she has done in the last year to innovate new materials and technologies for food and beverage packaging.

The Food Pack Summit will be held on September 27 and 28 at the Citibanamex Center, within the 10th edition of the Food Technology Summit & Expo México.
Find the full agenda of the Food Pack Summit at

Take advantage of a 40% discount on the purchase of a golden pass (valid until August 25).

More information: +52 55 5605 1777 Local 113
(email protected)

Source: University of Michigan.

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