Active packaging is a modern method of packaging which involves the addition or withdrawal of certain gases and liquids within food packages, in order to prolong their shelf lives. Food industry is a major consumer of active packaging materials. Oxygen scavenging, ethylene scavenging, ethanol release, carbon dioxide release and water vapor removal are some of the methods of active packaging. Fresh farm produce and poultry are biologically active when packed in flexible packaging materials. They release certain gases due to metabolism. These gases tend to accumulate within the headspace of the packaged food stuff. The accumulated gases cause the deterioration of the packaged food. Scavengers are used to absorb these gases and liquids accumulated within the headspace of the packaged materials, in order to prevent their spoilage.
The increasing demand for packaged food has been boosting the active packaging market. The growing inclination of individuals towards packaged and ready to eat foodstuffs has been propelling the active packaging market and this trend is expected to continue within the forecast period. Chopped and packaged fruits and vegetables employ active packaging to a large extent as they release gases within the packaging. However, incorporation of active packaging materials such as sorbents in food packages is expensive, which is expected to hamper the market within the forecast period. Nanomaterials and bio sensors detecting the accumulation of gases within packaged food items are expected to open new areas of opportunities for the active packaging market within the forecast period.
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Active packaging can be in the form of absorbent sachets or they can be incorporated within the packaging material. The latter mode of food preservation is expensive; nonetheless it is being explored to a large extent by contemporary packaging material providers. Besides absorbing gases, active packaging can be designed to absorb dripping liquids, controlling humidity, absorbing odors and maintaining the right concentration of gases and moisture within the packaged food items.
Some of the key competitors in this market are 3M, AstraZeneca, Active Packaging, Accutech Packaging, Inc, Amelco Desiccants Inc, BASF SE and DuPont among others.