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Biopolymers for food packaging


The Objective of the ISA-Pack project is to develop a flexible sustainable, active and intelligent technology platform for the packaging of fresh food produce targeting extended shelf life and quality, enhanced safety and reduced food and packaging waste.
Source of funds:
Scopes: Food & Beverages;Packaging
Lines research: Development of New Advanced Materials;Packaging Systems and Technologies;Advanced Intelligent Systems;Sustainability
The aim of the ISA-Pack project will develop two novel biopolymer materials:

  • Stretch wrap films suitable for the replacement of conventional PVC stretch film. Stretch wrap is material widely used by supermarkets for the in-store packaging of various food types, including: meats, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese, deli etc… Whilst demonstrated for beef steaks, the novel PHB-copolymer stretch films resulting from the project are anticipated to be directly suitable for the packaging of most food produce where conventional PVC stretch films are used.

  • Gas barrier sheets and films suitable for the manufacture of modified atmosphere packaging ‘MAP’ (and including vacuum packaging). MAP is widely used throughout the food industry for the packaging of many food types, including: fresh meats, poultry and fish; ready meals; pre-cooked foods etc… MAP is a popular packaging system for fresh and cooked produce as it enables an extension in food shelf life. The novel HBcopolymer MAP materials resulting from the ISA-Pack project are anticipated to be directly suitable for the packaging of most food produce where conventional MAP packaging is used.

ISA-PACK Concept:

The global packaging market is estimated to be worth over €400 billion with an annual growth rate exceeding 4%. Packaging for food and beverage is estimated to represents more than 70% of the market worth approximately €280 billion. Packaging not only provides a means for food containment, protection from mechanical abuse or contamination, communication with the consumer and marketing; but also food preservation or treatment, thereby enhancing shelf life, quality and/or safety. Sustainable Active and Intelligent Packaging seeks to combine:


• The bio-derived and end-of-life disposal properties of biopolymer materials enabling enhanced sustainability and reduced environmental impact;

• The preservative & protective properties of active packaging, enabling extended food shelf life and quality and enhanced safety;

• The informative functionality of intelligent packaging, providing assurance of food quality and safety


By combing all three components within one system, sustainable active and intelligent packaging has the potential to achieve synergistic performance enhancements and added value benefits.

The ISA-Pack Project is a three year industry driven Research and Development project funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).


A number of academic and business organisations across the EU are participating in the project, including:

  • The UK Materials Technology Research Institute, United Kingdom;
  • The University of Birmingham, United Kingdom;
  • Campden BRI, United Kingdom;
  • Instituto Tecnologico del Embalage Transporte y Logistica ITENE, Spain;
  • Doming Printing Sciences, United Kingdom;
  • Biopac (UK), United Kingdom;
  • FKUR Kunststoff, Germany;
  • Omniform, Belgium;
  • Intrex, Poland;
  • Asociacion Empreserial de Investigacion Centreo Tecnologico del Calzadoy del Plastico de la Region de Mercia (CETEC), Spain.
7th Framework Programme

7th Framework Programme

European Union

European Union