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HIGH PERFORMING ADVANCED MATERIAL PLATFORM FOR ACTIVE AND INTELLIGENT FOOD PACKAGING: CRONOGARD™

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Cronogard (HIGH PERFORMING ADVANCED MATERIAL PLATFORM FOR ACTIVE AND INTELLIGENTFOOD PACKAGING: CRONOGARD™)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31

cronogard® is an innovative product designed to significantly extend the shelf-life of packaged food. The cronogard® technology, developed and patented by Nice Filler® srl, is a family of products used in packaging that reduces the formation of biofilm on packaging surfaces. The protective and antibacterial activity of cronogard® inhibits the agents responsible for organoleptic decay from forming inside the package. (https://youtu.be/H6-9XS6Csvc)

A recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has raised the alarm concerning global warming and the potential effect on land use, food security and food production systems, highlighting amongst others the likely dramatic acceleration of decrease in crop yield in the next 20 years due to temperature rise across the globe. If yields collapse keeping food for longer on shelves will become an absolute priority to feed the planet. Now more than ever solutions such as Cronogard are needed to mitigate the risks ahead. Based on our first year of tests and fine-tuning, we found that Cronogard can increase the shelf-life of foodstuff between 20 to 200% (depending on the type of food concerned), significantly helping reduce food waste.

The Cronogard SME Instrument Phase 2 project was awarded funding in the autumn of 2017 for a maximum of €1,576,238 to spend over 30 months to introduce on the food packaging market an innovative, advanced-material technology platform (Cronogard) based on an organic-inorganic filler, edible and biocompatible, characterized by a lamellar structure able to intercalate with ionic bonds molecules (antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial), capable of maintaining the quality of food and to extend its shelf-life.
In the second 18 months of the project (from October 1st 2018 to March 31st 2020), the main emphasis has been on activities of WP2 – ENGINEERING AND PROTOTYPING within which the first set of fully viable industrial applications were developed and tested through different techniques (coating, extrusion, spray drying) on two main types of food packaging (trays and films). Lab tests in our premises of Fisciano (Napoli) and pilot tests in real industrial environment (with 5 industrial partners) have taken place and have highlighted and enabled work on various issues such as odour, sealability and transparency. The fixing of such technical open points shall lead us in the forthcoming months to fully viable commercial applications. In parallel we started working on WP3 – PERFORMANCE VALIDATION to collect and analyse microbiological evidence of shelf-life extension properties so as to ensure Cronogard’s performance levels and our product’s compliance with all safety regulations.
"In period 2, the team worked on fixing such open technical points to lead cronogard to fully viable commercial applications. In parallel we accelerated the work that had started at period 1 on WP3 – PERFORMANCE VALIDATION to collect and analyse microbiological evidence of shelf-life extension properties to ensure Cronogard’s performance levels and our product’s compliance with all safety regulations. Through our SME Instrument funding we benefited from the extra support of two business coaches; an expert in business development and marketing and another expert in food packaging safety compliance. Their help has been invaluable in accelerating the team’s maturity and to get Cronogard closer to the market. We estimate that the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the filler is now set at #9 at M30, as was originally planned in the GA. In addition, great improvements have been made on application technologies by means of formulation of special lacquers and masterbatches.

The impact of the project has already materialised on the project team as, thanks to the EIC/EC funding, we have been able to grow the team to include additional members expert in project management, communications and marketing, financial management and, absolutely essential for the development of the required solutions, additional scientific profiles, such as a chemistry PhD holder who has recently joined the team. Added credibility has also resulted in the possibility to agree collaborations (at no costs to Cronogard) to test our product as a shared-risk endeavour with 11 industrial partners on different applications of the food packaging industry such as meat, dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits, cheese, bread or ready-meals.

Cronogard is entering the market with 2 family of products: lacquers for cartonboard printing and plastic film coating, and masterbatches for extruding polymeric films. Each family includes different specific products (at M30, we have 3 lacquers and 2 masterbatches product codes). Future prospects for the post-project phase include many more products, each specific for the application material and the type of filler used."
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Cronogard Tests Bread