The demands for food packaging have changed significantly in the past few years. Even though consumers want food of the highest quality with no added preservatives, the need for foods with a longer shelf life continues to grow.
With its “inert barrier technology” (ibt), Greiner Packaging has succeeded in bringing food shelf life for plastic cups to a whole new level. The objective of the coating is to minimize the migration between the filling and the packaging, while at the same time protecting the filling from external effects.
This particular technology involves applying a barrier layer to plastic cups. And this is where the excellent properties of silicon dioxide come into play: The cups are first guided into a vacuum chamber. A silicon-containing gas and oxygen are then piped into the chamber while an electrode is used to generate plasma. This produces a coating on the cups involving the sealed inner layer and the plastic.
The SiOx layer produced is “chemically inert” and therefore non-reactive. The oxygen and moisture permeability is greatly reduced. The aroma and flavor of the filling are completely preserved. The coating is resistant to temperature and humidity, is flexible, and is suitable for aseptic filling. There is also no retort shock, i.e., a decrease in the barrier effect. In the end, the longer shelf life can reduce unnecessary food wastage.
Greiner Packaging is the global leader in the use of ibt in cup packaging. In 2015, the company was awarded the Swiss Packaging Award and the World Star Award followed by the President's Award in 2016 for this technoloy.
In sum, the advantages are once again:
- Enhanced shelf life of the filling without adding any preservatives
- Reduction of oxygen and moisture permeability
- Preservation of aroma and flavor of the filling
- Coating is resistant to temperature and humidity
- No retort shock (i.e. a decrease in the barrier effect)
- Reduction of food wastage
- No influence on disposal, recycling or the weight of the packaging