Whether it happens on your watch or in the hands of the end user, spoilage is waste. It wastes money, food, and the time that it takes to start over again from scratch. If you want to really dig in, spoilage wastes crops, farm worker labor, packaging materials, and transportation costs. Antimicrobial agents could be a solution.
In flexible packaging, antimicrobial agents help control food waste by preventing the growth of bacteria. That, in turn, extends shelf life. It is an emerging idea that could take product freshness to places you never imagined.
Natural Antimicrobial Agents Help Control Contamination
Flexible packaging already offers a superior barrier that protects fresh foods from contamination. It is strong, so it does not carry the same breakage risks as packaging such as glass. The wide range of film choices on the market gives food manufacturers options for protecting acidic juices, oily salad dressings, and dry goods such as cereals, all of which have properties that can degrade or break some types of packaging.
The addition of natural antimicrobial agents enhances the durable and protective characteristics of flexible packaging. Instead of a barrier that only blocks UV rays and moisture, it also prevents bacteria from ruining the food inside.
Natural antimicrobials fall into the “GRAS” or Generally Recognized as Safe category for food additives. MDPI explains that depending on the packaging and the food it contains, they may include these and other agents:
- Organic acids
- Essential oils
The Benefits of Antimicrobial Agents in Flexible Packaging Go Beyond the Ordinary
Food contamination has a far-reaching effect that puts everyone from the food manufacturer to the consumer at risk. Not only do contaminants threaten the health of the end-user, an outbreak of food-borne illness can destroy the reputation and ultimately the business of the manufacturer.
Food-safe antimicrobial agents keep fresh food fresh longer, but that is really the narrow view. Edition Truth says the combination of flexible materials and antimicrobials could benefit everyone in the supply chain in other ways.
When food is less vulnerable to spoilage, more people have access to healthy foods. In disaster-stricken locations such as post-hurricane Puerto Rico, food delivery is more problematic than anyone predicted. Flexible packaging with antimicrobial agents could put healthier foods into the hands of people who have no ability to shop for it locally.
Here are just a few more benefits:
- Eliminate or reduce the need for cold storage
- Protect a vast range of products from pharmaceuticals to juices to ready-to-eat foods
- Open up a broader range of transportation options through less breakage and smaller containers
- Make distribution possible to farther-reaching parts of the country and the world where safe food is scarce
Consumers rely on safe, fresh food that will not spoil quickly or cause harm. Antimicrobial agents in flexible packaging are an emerging possibility that help food manufacturers, packers, transportation companies, and others in the supply chain provide it. The more the possibilities are studied and the more that the packaging industry learns, the better you can meet the needs of your company, your workers, and the family who opens a juice container at the breakfast table.
If you need better food packaging options, advancing technology in flexible materials could be the answer. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.