The Valencian Agency for Innovation (AVI) is funding two projects developed by AIMPLAS which will make it possible to create new innovative self-heating food packaging with built-in natural additives to extend the shelf life of the food they contain.
Through the HEAT FOOD project, the prototype of a self-heating food container is currently being developed which would allow the consumer to heat the food it contains "even in places that do not have the facilities for it," said AIMPLAS in a statement.
This is being achieved with plastronics, a new line of research and development in the field of electronics that involves the integration of electronic components in plastic materials and the development of flexible electronics or the use of conductive materials based on plastic materials.
The new container will reach an adequate heating temperature and distribute it evenly throughout the container. The challenge is to achieve the "compatibility" of all the materials that make up the container. Once this is achieved, the results will be protected by an international patent and will be transferred to food packaging manufacturers, so that they can incorporate a "high added value" product into their range.
The CAP-Resistant project is based on the experience of AIMPLAS in microencapsulation technology. Since 2009, the technology center has been introducing plastic materials with antimicrobial substances, insecticides and insect repellents.
Thanks to this technology, "active agents can be preserved until their subsequent controlled release." When it comes to the integration in plastic materials, this technology makes it possible to transform conventional materials into smart or multifunctional ones with new features.
In this case, a prototype of food packaging (biodegradable and compostable) with antimicrobial capacity is being developed with substances of natural origin.
The challenge in this project was to obtain microcapsules with high thermal and mechanical resistance, making it possible to process the material by injection and extrusion to obtain bottles and trays without losing their antimicrobial properties.
To obtain the prototypes, AIMPLAS has selected biodegradable and compostable plastic materials in anticipation of an increasing demand for them thanks to the promotion of new circular economy policies.
The technological center has been in charge of synthesizing the microcapsules and of their distribution for the subsequent manufacture of bottles and trays.
Thanks to the collaboration of AINIA and the UPV, it will be possible to confirm the antimicrobial properties and the integrity of the microcapsules.
Also, the Valencian companies Emsur, Flexocolor, Grupo SADA, ITC Packaging and Laurentia, will be in charge of analyzing the economic and commercial viability of the prototypes and will later transfer the results to any company in the food sector that may be interested.
Source: Europa Press