Because of military conflicts like Ukraine and other countries, natural disasters, or the effects of climate change, many people have had difficulty finding food. For relief organizations, packaged foods that do not require refrigeration are essential. They will help aid organizations to provide food whenever needed.
Food preservation without refrigeration equipment requires packaging designed for specific preservation methods. Methods include fermentation, pasteurization, aseptic, microwave sterilization, or drying. Handling and packaging requirements also vary widely depending on the method of storage. Meanwhile, the ability to track also needs to be guaranteed. This ensures food relief packages get where they need to be
Packaging for food preservation methods
Fermentation is the oldest method used by humans. Starting with products like butter, and flour from 4000 BC in Egypt. And 2000 years later it was pickled in Ming China. Packaging for fermented products needs several requirements such as resistance to corrosive acids, pressure control, oxygen, and vapor blocking along with temperature control. The packaging must also withstand sterilization measures. Like UV-C/B rays, beam, or sterilization with H2O2 before product packaging
Structure of retort. packaging
Canning (retort) was developed in the early 17th century, through many generations of packaging. The core of this preservation method is to destroy the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The packaging, therefore, needs to be able to withstand temperatures of approximately 300oF for some time. Notably, in this temperature range, some polymers can transition from crystalline to amorphous state. In this state, oxygen can penetrate more easily. And the layers of the packaging can be bent when at high temperatures for a long time.
Structure of aseptic packaging
Aseptic is a preservation method in which food is packaged in a sealed system that is sterilized. With this method, the packaging must not be altered when sterilization measures are applied. Some common methods such as H2O2, UV light, or high-temperature packaging. The packaging also needs to have the mechanical strength to ensure that it can be packed at high speeds while still being properly sealed.
Microwave sterilization applies PET packaging with metal oxide coating and polymer nano clay composite (PCN) film with high protection and is not affected by microwaves. The first line to apply this technology belongs to Tata Smartfoodz, India.
Drying often requires appropriate packaging for each product. Like nuts and bacon, which are high in unsaturated fats, they need anti-oxidant packaging and are often loaded with N2 gas instead of air. Freeze-dried foods need good vapor barrier packaging.
Tracking technology is part of smart packaging technology. It helps to check supply chain history and detect counterfeits. It connects food from the producer to the consumer's table. Check and track location, and food status. Thereby creating favorable conditions for transporting food to where it is needed.
Tracking technology is applied with several smart packaging technologies such as RFID (radio wave identification) or NFC (near-distance communication). In addition, smart packaging often has decentralized identifiers (DIDs) using crypto technology. Prevent counterfeiting and ensure food gets to where or when it is needed. Consumers can also verify the safety of the food. Some other technologies such as nutritional sensors can estimate the number of nutrients in food. Ultimately, the efficiency and range of food delivery will be greatly enhanced if supply systems that apply smart packaging technology are interwoven