As far as growth is concerned, the packaging industry has nothing to worry about. Sustainability, however, is another story. And while the need for greener packaging represents a significant market opportunity, solutions that deliver the requisite performance at a competitive price are still thin on the ground.
A dominant technology in the packaging market is thermoforming, yet although, for example, bio-based trays have been around for a number of years, in general, they fail to meet the barrier properties required for sensitive food products.
Now, research institute IRIS, located in Barcelona, Spain, has announced the kick-off of a new European research project aimed at addressing this problem. Called ThermoWhey, the focus is to develop a new bio-based thermoformable barrier coating solution that can be used throughout the breadth of the packaging sector. This 28-month R&D project, which is funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme (under the Manunet programme), will deliver a whey protein coating with improved thermoformability even after storage, while maintaining excellent barrier properties.