January 21st 2020

Can packaging be sustainable?

Studie zum Einfluss von Verpackung auf Lebensmittel am Beispiel Fleisch  |  Abschluss des Interreg-Projekts „QualiMeat“ mit 6 Partnern unter Leitung des MCI   |  nachhaltige MAP-Verpackungssysteme genauso leistungsfähig wie herkömmliche Materialien




The three-year QualiMeat research project led by the MCI investigated the interactions between meat and various packaging systems and packaging materials. Photo: einariz_Fotolia
The three-year QualiMeat research project led by the MCI investigated the interactions between meat and various packaging systems and packaging materials. Photo: einariz_Fotolia

What influence packaging has on food and how existing packaging solutions can be made more environmentally friendly has been investigated by the Interreg study QualiMeat under the guidance of MCI in a three-year research project. The subject of the investigations was meat as a product, which due to its fragile state is highly variable and particularly sensitive. The interesting results: It is possible to identify significant differences in type and structure between the individual packaging systems tested. However, it is irrelevant whether conventional packaging materials or bio-based materials are used for MAP packaging.    

Meat consumption in German-speaking countries is still high, with the majority of meat being sold in supermarkets. Due to the fact that meat and sausage products are among the most perishable foods of all, even under sterile conditions during processing and preparation for the supermarket, contamination and oxidation occur. Therefore, the packaging solution must be all the more efficient. The most common packaging systems currently used are vacuum - so-called "skin packaging" - and MAP packaging, in which the meat is packaged in a modified packaging atmosphere and which has an air-filled headspace above the meat. Both packaging methods were analyzed in the study where both conventional plastics and bio-based films were tested as packaging materials. The most exciting result of the study: biodegradable MAP films show the same performance as conventional materials. The machine capability of the new films was also tested. It was shown that it is possible to switch to sustainable packaging materials with existing machines.

"In our extensive tests, bio-based packaging performed just as well as conventional materials, and they can also be used on conventional packaging machines. These results are certainly one of the major achievements of the study. They were also confirmed in initial preliminary tests on an industrial scale with Feneberg Lebensmittel GmbH," said project manager Katrin Bach, expressing her satisfaction.

The QualiMeat project

QualiMeat was funded by the European Interreg program and run under the direction of the MCI from September 2016 to December 2019 with the aim of investigating the interactions between fresh meat and packaging and using the knowledge gained to optimize packaging materials and packaging processes. The project partners of the MCI were the University of Innsbruck, the University of Applied Sciences Kempten, the Center for Food and Packaging Industry Kempten, as well as two packaging specialists Multivac in Allgäu and the Tyrolean company Naturabiomat. The MCI researchers were responsible in particular for the physical-chemical testing and for the transfer of knowledge and technology enabling the new findings to be applied in practice.

Ulrike Fuchs
Mag. (FH) Ulrike Fuchs Press & Project Management +43 512 2070 - 1527This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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