Product Application (biodegradable bio-based)

To evaluate the performance of biodegradable bio-based alternatives to food plastic film, we need to define the intended application(s). Considering that not all plastic should remain single-use, we have come to focus on film for fresh produce, given its importance for food security and consumer confidence.

But not all fresh produce is equal. Some are more challenging to protect than others; some may interact with the packaging. How can we further define the intended application?

One approach we’ve considered is to test for the most vulnerable produce within 2 categories: sliced veg/fruit (i.e., sliced apple) and animal-based (i.e., meat or milk).

What do you think of this approach? Do you have other suggestions? What are some of the key considerations? What are some food & beverage industry priorities in packaging fresh produce (global perspective)?

@akb , @barbswartzentruber , @ErnieRogers , @thanku , @schalkj , @iduaolunwa , @austinclowes; Would love to hear your continued insight on this topic!

Hi @nmgraham I will have time this week. Thanks for the nudge

@Eti and @nmgraham That’s an interesting question. There are many different food types that we might want to consider, and packaging is sometimes used for different reasons, e.g. to bind loose items together; to provide protection from physical damage; and/or to provide a protective barrier. It also has a presentation role.

If we capture all potential applications then the resulting XPRIZE outcomes could have a significant impact across the entire food and drink industry - and the environment. It might be that different prizes could be awarded in various categories.

Some characteristics that are useful in packaging include:

  • physical strength and rigidity
  • durable (until it becomes waste / litter)
  • flexibility
  • transparency
  • impermeability (to air, water, oil)
  • non-toxic materials
  • no leaching of chemicals from the material
  • vacuum pack seals, and/or
  • endure extreme temperatures (freezer storage, oven cooking trays / microwave meals).

Not forgetting safety, biodegradability and the overall environmental impact of course.

[Looking ahead to potential futures… some are talking about adding thin film electronics to packaging to monitor freshness and/or add animations and interactions. This could significantly complicate the aims here: for safety, recycling and bio-degradation. Perhaps the industry regulators might want to make it clear that such panels can be easily removed before recycling. Though I’m not sure how we’d deal with the litter louts.]

Thank you @akb - there’s a lot of opportunities to create real breakthroughs with all the different elements of packaging that could be improved!

@eakinyi @LHanson @Joanne @Utobou @kjbradford @marsxr @bngejane @renskelynde @kcamphuis @ricardoyudi @NoraEatREAL@neillk @jcoonrod @FranckSaintMartin @Olawale @LaurenTurk @yusuke @janetlee @brandonkion @SteveK8 @ethan @ymedan - curious if you have any input on this (the second of our new packaging topics)!

@akb through in a lot in that assessment. So it can be grouped:

  • Strength, durability and rigidity
  • Toxicity (if any) may be from durability or leaching
  • Application: Sanitation and Preservation or Packaging
  • Temperature tolerance
  • Sustainability, biodegradability, safety and environment
  • Economics
  • ?

@iduaolunwa You may be correct, with regard to grouping.