After Genetically Modified foods, it is now Nano food packaging. Nanotechnology in food become a prominent avenue in the food industry.
Nanotech foods are useful in applications ranging from smart packaging to interactive foods. Most of the World’s largest food and drink corporations are conducting research and development on nano-scale technologies.
Big food companies like Unilever, Hershy Foods, Nestle, Keystone, and Kraft are working on engineering, process, packaging, and delivery of foods and nutrients.
Major agribusiness firms like Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, and Monsanto are also reformulating their pesticides at the nanoscale. This is to make them more biologically active and to win new monopoly patents.
History of Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology was introduced in 1959 by Richard Feynman and in 1974, Norio Taniguchi coined the term “nanotechnology”.
Nano food packaging is necessary seeing the rising pressure to meet consumers demand for safe, healthy and fresh food.
Besides, the challenge to meet updated strict food safety regulations in each Country, nanotechnology in food is required.
Consumer wants freshness in the food they are buying from the store. Nano technology in food helps in providing the accurate information regarding the quality of foods during storage, transit and display.
Nanotechnology in Food is an untapped Market
Nestle and Unilever are exploring Nano particle emulsions that would make food textures more uniform. This would help in products like ice cream.
Nestle is also exploring nutraceuticals, Nano capsules that deliver nutrients and anti oxidants in specific part of the body. That too in a specific time.
The leaders in Nano Food packaging is clearly Kraft. This company took the first step in bringing nanotech in the food industry.
Kraft established Nanotek Consortium, a collaboration of 15 Universities and National Research Labs in 2000.
The company is focusing on foods and beverage products that can be personalized to fit the tastes and needs of consumers.
Nanotechnology in the US
US Scientists have successfully used single bacteria cells to make tiny bio-electronic circuits. This can be used to detect bacteria, toxins and proteins in the food.
The discovery could not only transform food safety, but also make the building of atomic-scale machines far easier. This would greatly contribute to Nano food packaging in the future.
Nano Food Packaging Benefits
Another feature of the Nanotechnology is that Nano sensors responds to the release of particular chemicals when food starts to spoil. As soon as the food starts to deteriorates, the nano food packaging will change its color. Thus, alerting the consumer.
This system will save millions from consuming expiry food stuffs and prevents from cases like food poisoning.
Sometimes, food manufacturers sealed the food and extend the expiry dates of the food package. The innocent consumers will buy the food only to discover it was spoil after opening.
Nano food packaging is a system far more accurate, advanced and safe than sell by dates in traditional way.
Nano Food Packaging in Beverage Industry
Vordian is making the Imperm Nano-composite barrier technology in collaboration with Nanocor. Imperm technology is currently used by Miller Brewing in plastic beer bottles.
Nano particles are designed in such a way that it provides a stricter barrier between Carbon dioxide molecules and Oxygen.
This type of Nano Food Packaging acts as a barrier between CO2 and O2. Thus, keeping the beer fresher and giving it up to a six-month shelf life.
There is another kind of sensor technology. The Nano Bar Code developed by Nanoplex Technoloies in California.
Such bar code can be used for brand security and supply chain tracking of foods. This helps in those places where traditional bar codes cannot tagged.
They can also be used to detect pathogens in food items such as E. coli. In fact, pathogen detection is bound to be another major components of Nano technology in food industry.
After all, food package and the packaging involved play an important role in food quality and shelf life. This can be served by high end Nano food packaging in the days to come.
Indeed, this new technology in food industry will alert food quality!
(C) Naorem Mohen
The Writer can be reached at Twitter @laimacha