HOLLAND FOOD INNOVATIONS . MARCH 2015 . NO 1
Biobased packaging Sustainable, functional and attractive Biobased plastics are set to replace petroleum-based plastics. These materials offer great benefits, but are relatively unknown in the food industry. “Slowly but surely, more suppliers will switch to biobased packaging,” predicts Karin Molenveld at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research.
There are many reasons to seek alternatives to petroleum-based plastics: fossil fuel depletion, a wildly fluctuating oil price, the need to reduce carbon emissions, an accumulation of plastic litter and the need for packaging materials with new characteristics. In response, researchers have deve-
The food industry is taking its first steps towards
loped a whole new generation of plant or
using biobased packaging materials.
plant-waste based packaging materials, some with characteristics such as breathability or antimicrobial properties. There are already countless applications for them. The food industry is taking its first steps towards using biobased packaging materials. “These materials and their applications are rather unknown,” says Karin Molenveld, Senior Scientist Biopolymers at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research and author of the recently published Biobased Packaging Catalogue. “That’s a shame, especially since some biobased materials have specific characteristics, like more suitable barrier properties, that make them a better choice than traditional packaging materials. And some biobased materials are particularly attractive to see or pleasant to touch. That creates interesting marketing opportunities, for example for packaging luxury products or creating special designs. And finally, the price of these materials is generally more stable than that of oil-based plastics, which is a major plus for the industry.” The recently published Biobased Packaging Catalogue provides an overview of all commercially available biobased packaging materials in The Netherlands in 2014. The
entries include a description of the raw materials used, the packaging materials
Issue 1 (2015) of industry publication Holland Food Innovations.