Over the past few years, the consumption of fresh produce in India has increased steadily. The fresh produce market in India is witnessing a noticeable change. The healthy Indian consumer wants to live a healthy life, choose sustainable products and improve their quality of life. With the rising urban population in India, there is an increase in demand for fresh food packaging.
New packaging technologies like active packaging, intelligent packaging and engineering science ensure flexibility in fresh produce packaging. In recent times we have witnessed development in various packaging systems, technologies and awareness of the importance of food packaging testing. These new packaging technologies can improve and extend the food shelf life while also improving quality. They are known to offer better food preservation and convenience benefits to consumers.
Intelligent, fresh produce packaging trends use smart features like sensing, detecting, tracing, recording and communicating to aid the extension of shelf life, improve food quality and safety, provide information, and issue warning about potential threats. Active packaging consists of absorbers and emitters that help in ensuring food quality, avoiding deterioration.
Also, the popularity of eco-friendly packaging using biodegradable materials is on the rise. At this stage, the importance of food packing testing and food packaging audits is very high. This helps keep the quality of packaging in check. A survey found that 71% of grocery shoppers strongly agree that healthier foods and beverages should use more valuable packaging materials (Source: www.grocerydive.com).
Current Trend in Fresh Produce Packaging
Moreover, the demand has risen even more due to the COVID-19 situation, the reasons being, people are trying to stock up as much fresh food as possible for enough use, many touch points till it reaches the customer and the methods of transportation used. The government has raised its bar when it comes to food safety and regulation in fresh produce packaging, food packaging audit and customers have raised the bar in terms of what they are looking for.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has prohibited the use of packaging material made from recycled plastics that includes carry-bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing food items. According to FSSAI, India generates a total of 95 lakhs tonnes of plastic waste per year. About 38 lakh tonnes of which remains uncollected and ends up in the dumps, water bodies and even in animal consumption. The FSSAI recommends manufacturers to explore the alternatives to plastics such as bio-plastic and biodegradable plastic.
As per the new FSSAI norms, no food product can be labelled as ‘Fresh’ or ‘Natural’ without permission. Food manufacturers and suppliers will have to seek permission from FSSAI to use such words such as pure, natural, fresh, and authentic while describing products on their packaging along with a disclaimer about the use of words under the latest FSSAI mandate.
It is necessary that the packaging materials being used undergoes food packaging testing, analysis and audit so that the food that is packaged does not exhibit an unacceptable change in composition and is fit for human consumption.
You will hear people in Food Safety speak about how “Canned is low risk, frozen is medium risk and fresh is the highest risk.”
So what are the specific challenges in fresh produce packaging and what makes food packaging testing, analysis and audit so important?
What are the opportunities in Fresh Produce Packaging?
Recognising new growth opportunities as they emerge is the key to securing a competitive edge in fast-expanding fresh produce packaging markets. At the same time, having safe and quality packaging is necessary. This is where we need to understand the importance of food packaging audit and testing.
These are some of the opportunities that an organisation must tap into for food packaging safety management:
Upcoming trends in Fresh Food Packaging
Food contact materials like PET, paper, aluminum, and polyvinyl chloride are in high demand because of their affordability, convenience and sustainability. Thus, they help in longer storage of the product. Some popular food contact materials that are being widely accepted are as follows:
While some firms are looking forward to biodegradable plastics as the future of fresh produce packaging, some others use more traditional methods such as paper and cardboard cartons for packaging food items like corn and rapeseed. However, producers have to keep in mind that food packaging testing and audit while using biodegradable materials is necessary to evaluate packaging performance.
Importance of Food Packaging Testing, Audit and Analysis - Why choose TÜV SÜD?
Food packaging industries need to ensure safe practices by adopting food packaging materials testing and analysis. This includes conducting several assessments, evaluations, and laboratory tests on materials having food contact. TÜV SÜD provides fresh produce packaging testing and audit analysis to provide transit-safe packages. This also helps in avoiding recalls, response time, logistics cost and at the same time gives brand recognition.
TÜV SÜD is a global leader in food packaging safety management. Food packaging safety management includes testing and certification as a significant part of food quality management. Food packaging certification is the way to build trust in your food packaging brand.
Food packaging certification demonstrates a manufacturer’s strong commitment to safe manufacturing materials and processes. It helps protect and support food brands and end consumers, giving them confidence in your product safety and quality management.
TÜV SÜD helps packaging manufacturers resolve the certification challenge and remove any apprehensions surrounding packaging manufacturers and food manufacturers’ requirements. As an accredited and approved certification body, TÜV SÜD enables you to get a credible food safety and food packaging certificate to improve food safety, legal compliance, quality and facilitating trade. Visit TÜV SÜD for more information on food packaging material testing and food packaging audits.