Technological watch

Sustainable and Bio-Based Food Packaging: A Review on Past and Current Design Innovations

Food loss and waste occur for many reasons, from crop processing to household leftovers. Even though some waste generation is unavoidable, a considerable amount is due to supply chain inefficiencies and damage during transport and handling. Packaging design and materials innovations represent real opportunities to reduce food waste within the supply chain. Besides, changes in people’s lifestyles have increased the demand for high-quality, fresh, minimally processed, and ready-to-eat food products with extended shelf-life, that need to meet strict and constantly renewed food safety regulations. In this regard, accurate monitoring of food quality and spoilage is necessary to diminish both health hazards and food waste. Thus, this work provides an overview of the most recent advances in the investigation and development of food packaging materials and design with the aim to improve food chain sustainability. Enhanced barrier and surface properties as well as active materials for food conservation are reviewed. Likewise, the function, importance, current availability, and future trends of intelligent and smart packaging systems are presented, especially considering biobased sensor development by 3D printing technology. In addition, driving factors affecting fully biobased packaging design and materials development and production are discussed, considering byproducts and waste minimization and revalorization, recyclability, biodegradability, and other possible ends-of-life and their impact on product/package system sustainability.

Publication date: 02/03/2023

Author: Florencia Versino

Reference: doi: 10.3390/foods12051057

MDPI (foods)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.