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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 11am

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Looking for the perfect package

Consumers, scientists, and companies will meet in Innovacciones 360º, to find out the food package adapted to consumer needs.

Innovaciones 360º includes the citizens who can give new ideas for packaging. Picture: R+D CSIC.Next April 20th Innovacciones 360º will take place, which will congregate consumers, small and medium-sized companies and scientists, in order to discuss and find food packages adapted to consumers’ needs. The event is innovative as it includes the citizens who can give new ideas that can be transformed into new products.

 

As their organizers explain, Innovaciones 360º is synonymous of circular innovation. “Ideas come from needs discovered by citizens and, after a process of research and development by scientists and companies, these ideas return to citizens transformed already into products. With Innovaciones 360º  citizens become the main characters of R&D”.

Scientists at the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros (ICTP-CSIC) will participate in the event, which is funded by the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT).

Pilar Tiemblo, CSIC scientist, explains that “companies and scientists are so involved in the packaging field that they often have prejudices and limitations when thinking about innovations. Citizens can offer a perspective without prejudices; they can raise new issues. Afterwards, scientists and companies will think if these issues can be solved”. 

The CSIC opened a period for the citizens to apply in order to be part of the consumer panel a few days ago.

Packaging, today

In food packaging, says Pilar Tiemblo, interests can be divided in three lines. The first one refers to sustainability, either in the production or in the recycling of the packs.

A second one is related to functions of the pack to preserve the product. For instance, the use of materials that act as barriers preventing oxygen entering or the protective atmospheres escaping, therefore preventing food oxidation.

Another example is the addition of active compounds within the pack, antioxidant or antimicrobial compounds, in order to extend the preservation shelf-life of the product. But there are many other possibilities: sensors to warn in case of breakage and leakage, sensors to control food freshness or any possible contamination, or packs with smart labels that record traceability information.

A third line consists in adding new functions that nobody has imagined before. “We think that it is in the second and third line where, with the help of consumers, we will find out ideas for new properties that are not so obvious”.