Active and intelligent packaging: applications and regulatory aspects

Nico de Kruijf, Marit van Beest, Rinus Rijk, Thea Sipiläinen-Malm, P. Paseiro Losada, B. De Meulenaer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

181 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in the way foods are produced, distributed, stored and retailed, reflecting the continuing increase in consumer demands for improved quality and extended shelf-life for packaged foods, are placing ever-greater demands on the performance of food packaging. Consumers want to be assured that the packaging is fulfilling its function of protecting the integrity, quality, freshness and safety of foods. To provide this assurance and help improve the performance of the packaging, innovative active and intelligent packaging concepts are being developed and applied in various countries. In Europe, however, the development and application of active and intelligent packaging systems have been limited thus far. The main reasons are legislative restrictions and a lack of knowledge about consumer acceptance, the efficacy of such systems, and the economic and environmental impact they may have. Therefore, in 1999, a European study was started within the framework of the EU FAIR R&D programme. It aims to initiate amendments to European legislation for food-contact materials to establish and implement active and intelligent systems within the current relevant regulations for packaged food in Europe. This paper presents an overview of existing active and intelligent systems and their current and future food-related applications. In addition, developments and trends in active and intelligent food packaging are discussed. The objectives and the work programme of the European project are reviewed and the results obtained so far are presented. The benefits for both the European consumer and the European food and food-packaging industries are highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-162
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • active food packaging
  • intelligent food packaging
  • legislation
  • packaged food
  • regulation
  • safety
  • quality
  • integrity
  • freshness


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