Juha Varis, Lappeenranta university of technology
PACKER 2020 –project aims to develop Southern Finland into a knowledge center of fiber based biomaterials, packaging solutions and packaging related manufacturing technology. The center specializes in developing local and organic food packaging solutions and machinery required by decentralized package manufacturing. PACKER2020 –project is founded upon the need to preserve Finnish paperboard industry and to support the rapidly growing local and organic food movement. Project combines local paperboard industry and agricultural products into ”one commercial product”. This creates a strong knowledge base for Finnish local and organic food producers.
The project aims to locate best European practices for local and organic food packaging. During the project a packaging unit based on the requirements of local and organic small scale food producers will be developed. The new unit will allow efficient and decentralized package production and packaging near the producers of the local and organic foods. New renewable, recyclable and affordable biomaterials will be developed as an alternative for plastic materials in food packaging. In addition to renewable coatings, films and barriers, the research will concentrate on technology that will slow down bacterial activity, improve shelf life, food security and storage stability of food products. Additional studies and tests will be conducted on using inkjet-printing to bring additional value by personalizing paperboard packages made from renewable materials. Advanced and smart sensor and indicator technology will be developed by the partner at Åbo Akademi University, with the aim of providing accurate information about the shelf life, freshness, packaging atmosphere and decomposing of the food products. New sensor materials and printable electronic components will be developed in order to achieve wireless and smart sensors to promote food security. A unique prototyping and pilot environment will be constructed to Lappeenranta University of Technology. The environment will be centered on the small scale packaging unit ”PACKER 2020” developed in this project. An innovation network built around the partners and collaborators of the project will support the development needs of the Finnish companies working in the fields of packaging materials, packaging manufacturing, equipment manufacturers, local and organic food production. Additionally the project will promote the packaging technology knowledge of LUT, VTT and Åbo Akademi University in Europe through networking.