A class of packaging that can detect the temperature, pH, etc either the packaged food or the food environment inside the package is called Intelligent food packaging. A package can be intelligent if it has the ability to track the product, sense the environment inside or outside the package, and communicate with human. For example, an intelligent package can monitor the safety and quality condition of a food product and provide early warning to the consumer or food manufacturer. The development of this emerging technology has been greatly accelerated in recent years, with a focus on informing consumers about food quality.
Advances in the fields of sensors and biosensors have enabled the development of new materials, devices, and multi functional sensing systems to monitor the quality of food. The disadvantages of the system are the potential migration of the packaging particles into food. By the way the concept of intentional migration of substances, like antioxidants and preservatives from the package into the food are new perspectives for the food packaging which are introduced and these are related with intelligent packaging. Work should be done to reduce the price of the intelligently packaged food products. It is estimated that the cost of the original food product is almost doubled with the use of intelligent packaging.
Types of Intelligent Food Packaging
There are mainly three types of technologies which are used for intelligent packaging systems: data carriers, indicators, and sensors. Apart from these types there is also a subdivision
- Data carriers: These systems are only used to store and transfer data, while indicators and sensors are used to monitor the external environment and display the information afterwards
- Environmental conditions: This species monitors conditions which can lead to changes in the quality characteristics of the food. Examples of these types are time temperature indicators, gas leakage indicators, and relative humidity sensors. Depending on the monitoring factor, these systems can be placed outside or inside the packaging.
- Quality characteristics or quality indicator compounds: This type is used for the direct monitoring of the quality attributes of the food itself. Examples are bio sensors and freshness sensor/indicators. These devices are usually located inside the packaging.
Intelligent Packaging Applications
– Breach of pack containment
Quality and safety indicators
– Gas sensing devices
– Detection of pathogen
– Time-Temperature indicators (TTIs)
– Growth of Microbes
– Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips/tags
– Holographic images, logos
– Hidden design print elements
Barcodes and radio frequency identification devices (RFID) Barcodes and RFID tags are mainly data carrier devices. A bar-code is widely utilised in multi-scale departmental stores to expedite record keeping, goods reordering and price checking. Usually barcode is the arrangement of systematic side by side lines, which contains hidden encoded data. The message is decoded and interpreted by an optical barcode scanner that conveys the required message to a system where it is kept for further necessary action. There are different types of barcodes used in the food sector.
Intelligent food packaging is an innovative technology which is developing in recent years. The reason of development intelligent packaging is thinking the outside of package. On the other hand to extend shelf life, enhance safety, improve quality, provide knowledge, and warn about possible issues, this packaging technology is developed and also these parameters are the benefits of the system. Similarly bar codes, RFID tags, thermo-chromic inks, holograms and tear taps provide solutions to the industry, retailers and consumers to protect food products from counterfeiting and theft. Some legal issues are also there that are raised by the food administrative agencies, which are related to the successful implementation of the intelligent packaging system rather than just focusing on the development of new tools and instruments, and these issues should be solved for further applications of the technology.