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Milk protein used to make biodegradable food wrap

From the CBC

A new biodegradable film made of milk protein has the potential to keep food fresher and replace plastic wraps, according to researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lead researchers Peggy Tomasula and Laetitia Bonnaillie plan to present their work before a conference of the American Chemical Society on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Bonnaillie says the substance they created is made of casein, a milk protein, with the addition of citrus pectin and some salts to make it stronger and more resistant to moisture. It behaves much like a plastic cling wrap, but it’s biodegradable, even edible, and there is no danger of harmful compounds leaching into food. The film can be folded and sealed around food products. It is as strong as plastic wrap but not as sticky.

For products such as cheese slices, packaged meat or individually wrapped snacks, it would take packaging that now goes into landfill and replace it with a material that breaks down in the environment.

Tomasula and Bonnaillie work in the dairy research unit of the USDA and hit on the idea of creating a packaging material when they were looking for a use for some of the dry milk that is produced in excess in the U.S. As milk consumption falls, dairy farms have continued to produce too much milk, which is being stored as milk powder.

The casein film could also help keep food fresher longer, as protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food from spoiling. As an oxygen barrier, the casein film is 250 times better than plastic wrap, Bonnaillie said. It also has the potential to block light more effectively than plastic.

Read the full article here.

Corrugated paper fights plastic for fresh produce share

From Food Manufacture UK

Some large UK retailers are failing to demonstrate the environmental benefits commonly attributed to plastic returnable transit packaging (RTP) when used for fresh produce, instead preferring it for reasons of supply-chain efficiency, the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has suggested.

“Certain retailers are using RTP to move fruit and vegetables through the supply chain quickly and gain a commercial advantage that way,” said director of packaging affairs Andrew Barnetson.

However, Barnetson pointed out that some retailers with a different sales strategy appeared to favour corrugated cases and trays for produce. The booming home-delivery produce segment had also adopted board as its material of choice.

Meanwhile, Italian research commissioned by the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) indicated further reasons for choosing corrugated for fresh produce. A team from Bologna University found that bacteria affected fruit far less when packed in corrugated than in RTP.

“Everything else being equal, the nature of corrugated is that it draws pathogens into the packaging where they dry out and die,” said Barnetson.

Learn more about turn-key packaging solutions from Tri-Mach Group here.
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Research predicts the food and drink trends of the future

From FoodBev.com

The Innovation Group, the innovation and futurism unit of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, has predicted some of the key trends for the food and beverage industry of the future.

In its latest trends report, which also includes statistical data from Sonar, it made findings such as that more than half of US and UK millennials use technology such as apps and wearables to maintain a healthy diet.

Innovation Group worldwide director Lucie Greene said: “Today’s food and drink consumers are more sophisticated than ever before. Our research shows that both US and UK consumers are placing increasing importance on food and drink as an experiential luxury and reflection of their personal identity. We also found that millennials, despite their well-documented economic challenges, are demanding higher-quality food, visual stimulation, and technologically enhanced experiences.”

Trends for the future of the food and drink industry

  • Food and health coming together
  • Technology changing the way we eat
  • The rise of “post-artisan”
  • Sharing our food with others
  • Cannabis in beverages
Read the full article here.

Coffee roaster pioneers green technology using coffee waste

From FoodBev.com

A British coffee roasting business has devised a “pioneering technology” that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates a zero waste, carbon neutral roasting process with a much reduced carbon footprint.

The process starts with “eco-roasting” the fresh coffee, packing into eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable packaging and labelling, and delivering to the customer. Once the customer has consumed the coffee they use the environmentally friendly bags and collection bins provided to store the coffee waste ready for collection. Once collected, the coffee waste is processed using secondary heat from the eco-roast process and the coffee fuel is then used to roast new batches of coffee in the new eco-roaster. The Coffe-Eco System also uses 100% compostable cups and lids for its coffee.

918 Coffee co-founder Justin Cornelius said: “Our eco-roast technology will make substantial reductions in the roasting, packaging and disposal parts of the process and is predicted to reduce overall CO2 emissions by around 10%. Whether you are an individual who enjoys delicious coffee, a coffee shop or a blue chip corporation, both you and the planet will benefit from using our trademarked Coffe-Eco system.”

Read the full article here.

Protective Packaging to Combat Food Waste

From Packaging Europe

According to a recent report one third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, costing consumers globally more than £259 billion per year. In addition, around 200,000 tonnes of the 15 million tonnes of food thrown away in the UK every year comes directly from stores. Supermarkets and growers must work much more closely with their suppliers to help tackle the food waste crisis, while ensuring the consumer receives the same quality of packaging.

Innovative packaging

There are a number of ways to effectively reduce food waste through protective packaging improvements. For example, improved design of packaging helps to ensure it is fit for purpose so it adequately protects food products as it moves through the supply chain. This highlights why it is crucial packaging developers understand the distribution process and where and why waste occurs. For example, a one size fits all, multi-purpose packaging solution can help cut the amount of packaging used. By having the ability to hold multiple items, flexible solutions have many benefits including less stockholding for packers.

Damage reduction

Damages lead to increased costs for replacing goods, including manufacturing, shipping, and labour associated with processing the replacement and the claim. When a product has to be replaced and re-distributed, and the original damaged item returned and disposed of, the product’s carbon footprint multiplies. These incidents can also impact a company’s brand reputation.

Therefore, in my opinion, the best form of packaging is easy to transport, move and lift and must be protected against being dropped or crushed. A regular shaped package can be stacked without too much space between each package being wasted and provides stronger support for the product itself. This means more packages can be transported in a container of a lorry. Unusually shaped packages can lead to space being wasted and this can be costly if thousands of the same package are been transported.

Read the full article here.

‘Snack to the future!’ 3D printing concept promises ‘fully edible ecosystem’, including the soil

From BakeryAndSnacks.com

A food and concept designer who designed a snack concept as a ‘fully edible ecosystem’ using 3D printing says she wants to show that lab-produced food can be natural, healthy and sustainable.

Freelance food and concept designer Chloé Rutzerveld recently graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology with a degree in Industrial Design, and has made headlines around the world in recent months, for her 2014 3D food printing project Edible Growth. Using this technology she has created the concept for a snack product comprising multiple layers – with an outer shell of dough or pasta and spores, seeds, yeast and ‘edible soil’ on the inside.

Rutzerveld describes this “future food concept” as a fully edible ecosystem created with living organisms, where the base of the snack is printed by a 3D printer and gradually develops into a finished dish. Her concept involves printing the food’s layers are printed using a bespoke 3D file; within five days the plants and fungi mature and the yeast ferments – turning the solids inside the snack into liquid.

“After the product has been printed, the consumer takes it home, and within three to five days it will develop towards a complete dish that contains all the nutrients the body needs,” Rutzerveld says.

“Just like Rochefort cheese, the intensity of its taste, smell and the whole eating experience increases over time.” Depending on their preference, the consumer can decide when to eat the snack.

Read the full article here.

KFC takes on packaging waste with edible coffee cups at U.K. stores

From MarketWatch

KFC this week announced it will serve coffee in edible cups in its U.K. stores.

No, the news here isn’t that the fried-chicken chain sells coffee (though coffee isn’t sold at most of its U.S. locations), it’s that KFC has partnered with food scientists to create edible cups made from biscuits, wrapped in sugar paper and lined with a layer of white chocolate, Metro UK reported.

Edible packaging is a relatively new concept and could significantly reduce the amount of paper or plastic packaging used, said Environmental Paper Network advisory board member Darby Hoover. “One of the most promising applications,” Hoover said, “may be in the quick-service restaurant sector, as in this KFC example, where packages or containers that ordinarily are designed to be used once and then thrown away could instead be edible.”

But edible packaging might not necessarily be a “greener” option. “We need to be careful to ensure we aren’t just trading one kind of packaging for another,” Hoover said.

Dominique Ansel, of “cronut” fame, said edible cups won’t necessarily reduce paper consumption, as the edible cups may themselves come packaged.

“You would have to make sure the packaging is really treated like food and kept in temperature-controlled and sanitary conditions,” he said. “And then I would guess you should make sure you don’t directly place that on an unclean surface but use a separate plate.”

And then there’s the issue of food waste if people don’t actually eat the edible cups. “We also need to make sure that the edible packaging is tasty and appropriate to the type of food being served, so that we don’t just trade off wasting packaging for wasting more food,” Hoover said.

Read the full article here.

Corrugated Shipping Containers study on cleanliness

From Canadian Packaging

Worried about how clean those containers are? Don’t be. All 100% of corrugated shipping containers tested met acceptable sanitation levels.

Testing and analysis conducted by the University of California-Davis and toxicology experts Haley & Aldrich investigating the cleanliness of corrugated shipping containers confirmed that all corrugated containers tested met acceptable sanitation levels.

The testing was conducted on 720 swab samples taken from containers from six different corrugated manufacturers in the U.S. northwest, California and Florida. The corrugated container industry requested the third-party testing to confirm that corrugated containers provided for food packaging meet acceptable sanitation criteria at the point of use.

This follows a study from the University of Guelph late last year that indicated sanitation concerns with one of the alternative shipping methods—reusable plastic containers—whereby surface testing of these containers found high levels of bacteria.

As the U.S. study notes, recycling corrugated at the current Canadian national rate, estimated at 85 per cent, greatly reduces bacterial loading.

Read the full article here.

Vegan chocolate packaging is sweet on sustainability

From Packaging Digest

A new gourmet vegan line of chocolates has recently been launched by HNINA with packaging that is made of 100% biodegradable and recyclable kraft paper produced with wind energy. Packaging Digest interviewed the chocolatier; some excerpts are below:

Our packaging is made of 100% biodegradable and recyclable kraft paper produced using wind energy. This is more than a symbol, but a pattern of our dedication to remaining close to nature and far from any unnatural, processed, engineered and unhealthy practices.


We wanted the quality, sustainability, traceability and ingredient purity to be evident from the packaging. Our packaging is made from recyclable fibers and wind energy. It is quite challenging to have elegance, simplicity and sustainability associated together but we found a way by also adding a beautiful wax seal on top of our box which reflects authenticity purity and luxury. It was also a more formal and poetic way for us to express our message. The upper insert not only serves as food-safe insulation but also as a flavor guide for our customers. Part of our environmental consciousness also encouraged us to develop multiple-use packaging, not only in the aesthetic chocolate packaging, but also the cold pack recyclable Styrofoam boxes we use to ship the chocolate boxes in.


Read the full article here.

Tri-Mach Group is attending Pack Expo International 2014!

From November 2-5, we’ll be attending Pack Expo International in Chicago, Illinois! This is a terrific opportunity to learn about advancements in the processing and packaging industries, and meet international industry leaders. If you’re attending, we look forward to meeting you!
If you haven’t registered yet, the link for attendees is still open here.
See you in Chicago!