Food is one of the vital requirements of the human race. We would not be able to survive without the nourishment that is provided by food. As technology has improved, it has become easier to ship food across long distances. To do this successfully though, it is important that the food products are packaged correctly to prevent spoiling and ruin.
According to a study commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations called “Global Food Losses and Food Waste” one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted around the globe. This amounts to approximately 1.3 billion tons of food per year that is lost or wasted. To cut back on this extremely high number of food that is not able to be consumed, new packaging and distribution methods have been explored, as the current methods contribute to increased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Demand has been growing for food barrier-packaging solutions that are recyclable and biodegradable and would shield and protect the quality of extended shelf-life foods. One potential solution to this problem is to use paper. Technical advancements in ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) technologies allow the paper industry to create packaging that safeguards food quality and at the same time minimizing spoilage and waste.
EVOH is a high gas barrier thermoplastic that is used in household food packaging for products like shredded cheese and baby foods. It contains a semi-polar, semi-crystalline molecular structure that provides an excellent barrier against gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The gas barrier protection it offers is between 10,000 and 25,000 times more than the low density polyethylenes found in common plastic bags. Since it shuts out oxygen, it slows the microbial degradation of the food from the ingress of oxygen over time, and ensures flavor is maintained while protecting vitamin content.
PVOH is a synthetic resin that has been used historically to coat paper for sizing, strengthening, and as a carrier for pigments and optical brightening agents. Similar to EVOH, it has a low permeability to oils, greases, oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, but under dry conditions surpasses EVOH’s barrier performance due to its higher polarity and crystallinity. It is considered to be the one of the highest barrier polymers available, and will greatly improve paper-based food packaging.
The food market wants to preserve foods for longer periods of time while using packaging that will not have a negative effect on the environment. Paper packaging meets these demands, and the inclusion of EVOH and PVOH coatings and technology can help packaging manufacturers meet their goals. At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we can provide you with the film or paper that will meet your packaging manufacturing needs. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.