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FRESHRAP Report Summary

Project ID: 717513

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FRESHRAP (Feasibility study for an innovative “Regenerative Atmosphere Packaging” for fresh chicken)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The food industry is under high pressure from both consumer demand and regulatory agencies with regard to the increasing awareness for food waste and food safety. More and more consumers are becoming acutely attentive to factors influencing the reduction of customers suffering from food contamination and regulations which promote the efficient use of resources and reduce food waste. In that sense, packaging protects products against deteriorative effects.
In particular, for poultry products, packaging has improved their safety and quality and the most widely used packaging system for that purpose is MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging). Although, this system is commonly used, there is still some technical and economic drawbacks to be overcome related to poultry’s shelf life and packaging protection improvement, cost and food waste reduction.
Our company, SCIENCEPACK, with this aim, has developed an innovative packaging that give a solution to that MAP limitations. In particular, SCIENCEPACK has developed FRESHRAP technology, a double bottom tray with an active coating that offers an effective alternative to the conventional MAP systems. The key of this innovation is that, thanks to its specific design, CO2 is generated continuously into the packaging. The gas is generated with the reaction of the fresh chicken’s exudate with the active coating, without injecting any gas and improving the quality of packaged (30% CO2 is reached yet in the first 24 hours). In addition, this system avoids the use of absorbers pads that promote bacterial growth, discoloration, acidification, and moisture lost contributing to comply with the European authorities.
For this reason, FRESHRAP represents a great market opportunity to extend this technology to the poultry sector. The poultry meat is one of the fastest growing meat sectors in terms of production and consumption. In 2015, the global poultry meat production reached 112 million tonnes and it is estimated to be worth over 128 million tonnes in 2022 , growing at a rate of 2% each year from 2015. According to FAO, there are over 1,000 poultry producers worldwide where the main producers are UK, Germany and Spain following France and Italy.
The main objective of the action is to develop a feasibility study on the potential introduction of a CO2 emitter packaging for poultry sector, including a technical feasibility study, market analysis, scaling-up features, business model and a financial plan.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

At phase I, SCIENCEPACK undertook a Feasibility Study to evaluate FRESHRAP packaging for poultry products. This study was focused on four key areas: a) technical feasibility analysis, b) market analysis,
c) business model and d) financial plan.
A technical feasibility assessment regarding three main aspects has been carried out in Phase 1. In particular, reclosability, industrial active coating application and legal requirements according to EFSA guidelines has been carried out. In terms of reclosability, first trials have been performed to monitor percentage of CO2 which remains after open/closure of package to study its feasiblilty. Further studies are planned to continue with this functionality to consider different alternatives with rigid or flexible lids according to packaging requirements and cost optimization. Regarding industrial coating application of FRESHRAP solution, an ad hoc machine has been designed as the best solution to implement involved processes to manufacture FRESHRAP CO2 emitter tray. In particular, a two-step sequential coating application is proposed. And in terms of legislation, EFSA has released a positive opinion for FRESHRAP solution to be used in contact with food produce.
On the other hand, a market analysis has been performed, where it has been concluded that, SCIENCEPACK will focus on first selling the FRESHRAP in UK and Spain, during the first year of commercialization. Then, the market will be expanded to France and Italy, secondly rest of Europe, and finally the USA and Brasil, since the company has ready commercial access to these countries and the aforementioned market data also underline it.
Regarding planned business model there are two different stages, a first step where SCIENCEPACK strategy is to subcontract the manufacturing of FRESHRAP to packaging converter companies in order to start its commercialization in 2019 and create a value chain for early adopters of the technology, and a second stage, where SCIENCEPACK aim to scale up the technology and boost the adoption of FRESHRAP Technology by licensing to packaging manufacters.
Finally, a financial plan has been elaborated where it has been concluded that at the end of 5 years, SICENCEPACK will earned a cumulative total of almost 25,4M€ with FRESHRAP packaging solution.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

- Reduce the investment in packaging equipment and gases: Packers will not have to invest in expensive machinery used for MAP packaging nor in the gases injected in the package in order to protect fresh chicken.
- Faster packaging
- No increase of the packaging costs for packers: The cost of the new package is not expensive as the sum of the costs of producing the MAP tray and the costs of gas injection inside the package. Production cost
- To be applied in the industry: AC is formulated and developed in order to be applied in the industry. The AC’s components are food additives and the packaging design compels a barrier (PET/PE sheet) between the AC located in the bottom of the tray and the meat. For this reason, the new packaging will conform to the European regulation 1935/2004; European commission 450/2009 and 10/2011 PIM (Plastic implementation measures).
- Better food safety: i) Produce CO2 since the fresh chicken are packed. For this reason, it is an alternative solution to the current MAP system, improving the shelf-life of the chicken breast even after the pack is opened; ii) Avoid the use of absorbers, for this reason, it decreases the bacterial growth, discoloration, acidification and moisture loss; iii) The perforations that separate the meat from the liquid, allow the circulation only in one way: exudate will not be in contact with meat.
- Shelf-life protection is maintained also in opened packages thanks to the continuous and constant generation of CO2, the specific packaging design, and the resealing system of the tray.
- Attractive to customers: In general, customers refuse the presence of extra objects inside the tray.
- In line with the European regulations: This system avoids the risk of using pad absorbers and thus reduce the levels of microbiological contamination.
- 100% Recyclable conforms to European directives. The active packaging is made of a PET/PE tray + PE/PET sheet.

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