Safpack project aimed to obtain suitable materials for innovative food bio-packaging applications, specifically for fresh-cut vegetables and bakery product’s primary packaging. Partners taking part to the Project have been NOVAMONT SpA for Piedmont Region, IDOKI SCF TECHNOLOGIES S.L. and ULMA PACKAGING for the Basque Country. Two research centres were also involved: Environment Park S.p.A. and AZTI Tecnalia. The project innovation has been focused on two different innovative technologies that have been employed in order to achieve the goals of the project: atmospheric plasma treatment, with deposition of nanoclay (MMP) for the improving of barrier properties of the film, and grafting of natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agents for the increasing in food stuff shelf life. After the optimization of the material formulation and improvements in barrier properties thanks to the plasma treatment as well as MMT deposition, test on packaging machines (horizontal and vertical flow pack) at industrial scale have been carried out, in order to verify the processability of biomaterials compared to the traditional plastics present on the market today. Also, to check the effect of active agents and plasma treatment on properties of biopolymers, biodegradation tests have been carried out.
Shelf life studies pointed out that the biopolymers developed seemed to be suitable for these kind of foodstuff’s packaging. As concern fresh cut vegetables, for example, barrier to oxygen and carbon dioxide of plasma treated films resulted similar to the traditional plastics’ ones so shelf life could be considered comparable.