Browsing by Subject "packaging"

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  • Manzocco, Lara; Mikkonen, Kirsi S.; García-González, Carlos A. (2021)
    Aerogels are nanostructured materials with low density, high surface area (>150 m2/g) and open porosity (typically 95-99.99%). They are obtained by solvent removal from gels while preserving network structure. Hydrogels, organogels and even tissues can be optimal sources of aerogels with limitless customization of format and texture. Aerogels might be used for a range of advanced food applications: from smart ingredients controlling nutrient release to delivery systems for active compounds; from fat substitutes to novel biodegradable and intelligent food packaging materials. This review article summarizes recent developments of aerogels in food applications, analyzing research challenges and prospecting future markets.
  • Suokari-Pärssinen, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The aim of the study was to investigate cornerstones of a communications strategy for a start-up specializing to wood-based packaging materials. These include packaging materials, which are produced in a sustainable way and decrease environmental load with their biodegradability. These cornerstones are basis for a globally profitable and competitive business. Literature review and qualitative interviews were used as a method. The circular economy business model enables a new way to operate and generate competitive advantage for a start-up. The plastics industry claims biodegradability of some forms; the communication challenge of the competitors is to prove these arguments false. Launching world-wide renewable wood-based packaging material to consumers and to packaging industry requires co-operation between all stakeholders. To be a true alternative to plastics, the product must be based on sustainability principles, recyclability and compostability. To avoid greenwashing, all communication must be based on reliable and verifiable information. The developed communications strategy addresses all the aforementioned challenges. The communications strategy focuses on younger generation consumers and rely on their ability to utilize social media in their communications. A circular economy start-up company must outperform plastics packaging manufacturers economically, environmentally and socially with sustainable packaging solutions. Nevertheless, based on this thesis, sustainability is a valid selling and communications argument. The interviews conducted by this thesis support this finding.
  • Orava, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Ready meal market is a mature business sector in Finland where competitive advantage is hard to achieve. When trying to get a foothold of the ready meal category, is it worthwhile to make a packaging redesign? Consumers buying behavior is considered to be rational and utility driven, but the interpretation has been challenged. The thesis uses eye tracking methodologies in studying consumer behavior. With eye tracking, it is possible to quantify consumer’s implicit visual search behavior into measurable and analyzable form, without the interference of conscious interpretation of perceived stimulus. Thus eye tracking data can assist companies in understanding their customer’s behavior and in creating effective and relevant packaging and marketing decisions. This thesis will provide insight on consumer behavior, eye tracking, and packaging and seizes the conducted research data; is it adequate to proceed with brand owners old design or should they consider moving to a new and unconventional, market-disrupting package design?
  • Salminen, Eero-Matti (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the integrated climatic impacts of forestry and the use fibre-based packaging materials. The responsible use of forest resources plays an integral role in mitigating climate change. Forests offer three generic mitigation strategies; conservation, sequestration and substitution. By conserving carbon reservoirs, increasing the carbon sequestration in the forest or substituting fossil fuel intensive materials and energy, it is possible to lower the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through the use of forest resources. The Finnish forest industry consumed some 78 million m3 of wood in 2009, while total of 2.4 million tons of different packaging materials were consumed that same year in Finland. Nearly half of the domestically consumed packaging materials were wood-based. Globally the world packaging material market is valued worth annually some €400 billion, of which the fibre-based packaging materials account for 40 %. The methodology and the theoretical framework of this study are based on a stand-level, steady-state analysis of forestry and wood yields. The forest stand data used for this study were obtained from Metla, and consisted of 14 forest stands located in Southern and Central Finland. The forest growth and wood yields were first optimized with the help of Stand Management Assistant software, and then simulated in Motti for forest carbon pools. The basic idea was to examine the climatic impacts of fibre-based packaging material production and consumption through different forest management and end-use scenarios. Economically optimal forest management practices were chosen as the baseline (1) for the study. In the alternative scenarios, the amount of fibre-based packaging material on the market decreased from the baseline. The reduced pulpwood demand (RPD) scenario (2) follows economically optimal management practices under reduced pulpwood price conditions, while the sawlog scenario (3) also changed the product mix from packaging to sawnwood products. The energy scenario (4) examines the impacts of pulpwood demand shift from packaging to energy use. The final scenario follows the silvicultural guidelines developed by the Forestry Development Centre Tapio (5). The baseline forest and forest product carbon pools and the avoided emissions from wood use were compared to those under alternative forest management regimes and end-use scenarios. The comparison of the climatic impacts between scenarios gave an insight into the sustainability of fibre-based packaging materials, and the impacts of decreased material supply and substitution. The results show that the use of wood for fibre-based packaging purposes is favorable, when considering climate change mitigation aspects of forestry and wood use. Fibre-based packaging materials efficiently displace fossil carbon emissions by substituting more energy intensive materials, and they delay biogenic carbon re-emissions to the atmosphere for several months up to years. The RPD and the sawlog scenarios both fared well in the scenario comparison. These scenarios produced relatively more sawnwood, which can displace high amounts of emissions and has high carbon storing potential due to the long lifecycle. The results indicate the possibility that win-win scenarios exist by shifting production from pulpwood to sawlogs; on some of the stands in the RPD and sawlog scenarios, both carbon pools and avoided emissions increased from the baseline simultaneously. On the opposite, the shift from packaging material to energy use caused the carbon pools and the avoided emissions to diminish from the baseline. Hence the use of virgin fibres for energy purposes, rather than forest industry feedstock biomass, should be critically judged if optional to each other. Managing the stands according to the silvicultural guidelines developed by the Forestry Development Centre Tapio provided the least climatic benefits, showing considerably lower carbon pools and avoided emissions. This seems interesting and worth noting, as the guidelines are the current basis for the forest management practices in Finland.
  • Korpela, Heta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    One of the most common packaging materials for food is polymers. The properties offered by plastic packaging are good for food, but there is a general demand to reduce the usage of plastic. The demand for reduction is due to the fact that plastic is often made from fossil raw materials. In the case of foodstuffs, it is not possible to completely remove the plastic packaging material as this would result in faster food spoilage and thus greater food waste. The amount of plastic can be reduced by using it as part of the multilayer material. In multilayer materials, the most common raw material is cardboard, which is generated from renewable raw materials. In addition to plastic packaging made of virgin material, plastic materials made from recycled polymers may also be used in food packaging in future, provided that their safety conditions are met. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of freezing temperatures and ultraviolet radiation (UV) on the properties and aging of recycled plastic. The research methods were divided into physical, barrier and chemical measurements. Samples were imaged using a scanning electron microscope. The hypothesis in the study was that freezing conditions and UV treatment both age the packaging material. UV radiation is expected to age samples more than freezing conditions. The study will focus on PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and LDPE (low density polyethylene) coated cardboards. The study partially answers to the hypothesis. Frost conditions were had weaker aging effect than UV radiation, as expected. On the other hand, recycled plastics cannot be said to be easier to age than virgin materials. Particularly between the different measurements, the materials did not differ clearly in their aging.
  • Suuronen, Juulia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Forests play a central role in climate change mitigation actions, and substitution, that is the use of wood products in place of fossil intensive materials, has been recognized as a potential way to avoid emissions. While there are studies estimating the substitution impact of products, i.e., the avoided emissions, there is a lack of studies integrating market perspectives into substitution estimation. To contribute to this research gap, this study explores the market assumptions of substitution through the theoretical lenses of value chains and microeconomic theory on demand. The objectives are to recognize powerful decision-makers in the value chains, to establish a better understanding for the current state of substitution in the markets, and to explore the determinants of demand of the wood-based products. To limit the scope of this study, the use of pulp-based products was examined in the cases of packaging and textile sectors. Semi-structured interviews with 14 experts were arranged to discuss their views on substitution and demand of the pulp-based products in the chosen sectors. Additionally, a Likert scale was filled at the end of each interview to supplement the interview answers and enable elasticity and cross-price elasticity analyses to examine substitution. The sample of respondents was chosen through the use of snowball sampling and a matrix to recognize potential interviewees. First, the findings of this study suggest that in both sectors, the decision-making power on materials is held by the operators at the end of the value chain whereas the forest sector is located at the beginning of the chain. Second, in both sectors, there is willingness to find more sustainable material solutions, but the tools for this are lacking. In the case of packaging sector, the barrier capacities of plastic are unattainable with fiber-based materials, meaning that reducing plastic use does not always imply switching the feedstock itself. In the textile sector, the production of wood-based textile fibers is not yet scaled enough for it to compete with similar materials. However, the analysis of elasticities indicates that some substitution can be expected in both sectors. Third, a number of important determinants of demand were identified, yet no single factor could be identified as the most important one. This study concluded that there is room to improve the market assumptions for substitution impact estimation. In packages, the market preferences of fiber-based packaging in some uses give a rise for interpretational issues, while plastic reduction goals do not always imply switching to wood feedstock. In textiles, the new man-made cellulosic fibers (MMCFs) are expected to mostly substitute for viscose and fill the cellulosic gap from stagnating production of cotton instead of substituting for synthetic fibers. To conclude, it is central to integrate market data and concepts better into future substitution impact analyses to facilitate more realistic estimates.
  • Kopra, Silja (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Fresh cut vegetables are fresh vegetables which are processed by peeling, washing, cutting, packaging and storing. All these steps are influencing the quality and shelf life of the fresh cut produce. The fresh cut vegetables and the raw chicken meat have different packaging requirements. The fresh cut vegetables are normally packed into permeable packaging with low oxygen concentration, whereas the chicken meat is commonly packed into tight oxygen-free packaging. The literature review focused on the factors which influencing the quality and shelf life of the fresh cut vegetables. The literature review also focused on the food and packaging technological tools for maintaining the quality of the ready-to-cook fresh cut vegetable and raw meat products. In the first part of the experiment study, the effect of the high barrier and the micro perforated film on the quality of fresh cut root vegetables (sweet potato, swede, parsnip and carrot) were studied. In the second part of the experimental study, the effect of the micro perforated film, tray comparting and a lingonberry juice treatment of chicken meat on the quality of the ready-to-cook fresh cut root vegetable and raw chicken meat product was studied. In a 13-day storage period, the changes in colour, firmness and gas concentration in a packaging, weight loss, sensory acceptance and microbial quality was investigated. The gas transmission rate was higher with the micro perforated film. The overall sensory acceptability of the root vegetable cubes packed with micro perforated film was under the appointed limit in 13-day storage. Nevertheless, no difference in the quality of fresh cut root vegetables packed with the high barrier or the micro perforated film was detected. The concentrations of the yeast and moulds were over the guideline value (1000 cfu/g) in both the fresh cut root vegetables packed with the high barrier and the micro perforated film and ready-to-cook fresh cut vegetable and chicken meat product in a four-day storage time. The overall acceptance of the ready-to-cook fresh cut root vegetable and raw chicken meat product maintained in 13-day storage time. The total aerobic bacteria content of the lingonberry treated chicken and fresh cut root vegetable cubes were over the guideline value 1·108 cfu/g in the 13-day storage time. The comparting of the tray didn’t have an effect on the quality of the lingonberry treated chicken meat and fresh cut root vegetable cubes. The study showed the quality of the used raw material is important to maintain the quality of the fresh cut produce. The modified atmosphere created by fresh cut root vegetables seems to be enough to maintain the microbial and sensory quality of raw chicken meat and fresh cut root vegetable cubes.
  • Nykänen, Heli (Helsingfors universitet, 2009)
    Greenhouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most important vegetables in Finland with annual consumption of about 30 million kilogrammes. The cucumber itself generates ethylene at a low level, but excessive ethylene concentrations (>0.5 ppm) in ambient air causes quality losses, like yellowing and softening. The problem is that cucumbers often share the same airspace with ethylene generating fruits and vegetables during transport, storage and sale. The literature review deals with ethylene synthesis and its effects in vegetables. Also, ethylene measurements and detection, as well as ethylene exhaustion, and inhibition are discussed. The aim of the experimental study was to find the best available packaging material for greenhouse cucumbers. From 13 different packaging alternatives, studied in a preliminary test, the most promising were selected for storage experiments. Cucumbers were cultivated in greenhouses in SouthWest Finland. Packed cucumbers were stored at 12 ºC and in airflow with 1 ppm ethylene for 14 or 7 days for the first and second trial, respectively. Analyses were performed once a week. They consisted of O2and CO2concentrations of packages and sensory quality of whole and sliced cucumbers. Cucumbers were also photographed. Results showed that cucumbers packed in low oxygen transmission film deteriorated fast, whereas too many holes in a package resulted in high weight losses. Cucumbers packed in shrinkwrapped PEpackages with micro holes had lighter green colour than other cucumbers after 13 days. Cucumbers packed in biodegradable film had nearly 25 % weight loss after 27 days compared to other packages causing weight loss of 3 %. After 13 and 21 days’ storage time the freshness of taste was better if the PPpouch with an ethylene scavenger was used. The currentlyused shrinkwrapped PEpackage with micro holes proved to be a good choice for cucumbers if there is no risk of ethylene in food chain. If ethylene is present, it is better to use a PPpouch with micro holes. In that case, additional benefit of improved freshness of taste can be achieved by using ethylene scavengers.
  • Tuohimaa, Eira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Adhesion of the food into the packaging has an important role in various stages of the supply chain of food production to recycling. If the food sticks to the surface of the package and the package does not get completely empty, there will be ethical and ecological problems due to the use of resources such as water, raw materials and energy which are wasted in considerable quantities. If the packaging does not empty properly, but leaves residues, the image of product’s quality in the eyes of the consumer will be reduced. The aim of this study was to develop packaging materials that reduce food losses by improving the release of the food from its packaging. The research topics were the emptying properties of the packaging materials and the adhesion of the oily foods to their surfaces. The work was carried out by testing the coated paperboards and trays adhesion properties. As model products, commercial marinade and rapeseed oil were used, and their viscosities were determined. The method used were 80° tilt test, stickiness test, contact angle measurement and chemical extraction combined with gas chromatography. Based on the results of the study, the amount of residue from an oily food at the surface of the packaging can be influenced by appropriate combination of mechanical and chemical treatments. Using a PE coating which is glossy and non-patterned with a chemical treatment is the best for ensuring removal of oily foods removed from the packaging. Food waste can be reduced by choosing the proper packaging type for each foodstuff based on its attributes.
  • Ahola-Iivarinen, Elina (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    In the literature review of this study, the focus was on biofilms that certain microbes produce, and their potential use in food industry. Biofilms consist of microbial cells and extracellular products, e.g., polysaccharides. Pullulan as an exopolysaccharide has many industrial applications and the aim of this study was to explore a new potential alpha-glucan, dextran, and especially its ability to form a stand-alone film. Pullulan and dextran were separately mixed in de-ionized water. The dynamic viscosities of dextran and pullulan solutions were determined. Film formation of dextran was not successful, not even with sorbitol as a plasticizer. The optical properties, water vapor and oxygen permeabilities and tensile strengths of pullulan films were studied. Additionally, Whatman42-filter material was coated with or immersed in dextran solution. Hence the changes in tensile strength and permeability values between a well-known material and dextran treated material could be detected. Pullulan films had low haze values (2.1–3.9%) and they were transparent to UVA-, UVB- and visible light. The tensile strength values of pullulan films were 47–53 MPa. For filter paper, the corresponding values were 10 MPa and application of dextran coating increased it to 15–19 MPa. All polysaccharide solutions exhibited Newtonian behavior and their relative viscosities were <10 mPa, 5% pullulan with viscosity around 20 mPa as an exception. Pullulan solutions had higher viscosities than dextran solutions. The air permeabilities were 10–50 ml/min for pullulan films, 10 ml/min for dextran-sorbitol film, 200 ml/min for dextran film and 200–500 ml/min for Whatman42 material. The oxygen permeability values for pullulan films were <0,1 cm3·μm m-2·d-1·kPa-1. Based on results in this study, pullulan films are impermeable to oxygen. As the films tolerated water vapor poorly, pullulan might be a potential component in packages made of composite materials, as individual packaging material in dry environment or possibly chemically modified to obtain better resistance to water vapor. Our results show that without additional modifications dextran does not form a continuous self-supporting films in these conditions.