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Enhanced liquid retention capacity within plastic food packaging through modified capillary recesses
Journal of Food Engineering, Volume: 323, Start page: 111010
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A novel approach is proposed to isolate meat exudate in plastic packaging trays. This exudate is responsible for limiting meat shelf life, increasing meat loss and non-recycling plastic waste. This study explores the use of specially designed capillary recesses with integrated raised rims as a means...
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A novel approach is proposed to isolate meat exudate in plastic packaging trays. This exudate is responsible for limiting meat shelf life, increasing meat loss and non-recycling plastic waste. This study explores the use of specially designed capillary recesses with integrated raised rims as a means of improving liquid retention capacity in thermoformed meat trays. The presence of raised recess rims is used to enhance the valving functionality of the recesses and restrict liquid drainage during and after recess inclination. This resulted in a considerable increase in liquid retention capabilities. For pork exudate, the retention capacity of recess samples (recess diameter: 9 mm) significantly increased (p < 0.05) from 0.79 g for recesses with no rims to 2.12 g for rim-integrated recesses. The corresponding retention capacity of a recess array after introducing these rims was 2921 ± 63 mL/m2. These recesses have comparable liquid scavenging performance to absorbent meat pads (3000 mL/m2) yet are integrated within the tray material. This proves the practicality of using rim-integrated recesses in plastic meat packaging to retain exudate away and ensure fully recyclable plastic packaging. The manufacturing of these recesses is integrated into the thermoforming process for the tray body.
Capillary valves; PET; Food packaging; Meat exudate; Liquid retention
College of Engineering
This work was financially supported by Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) through funding from the European Social Fund via the Welsh Government (c80816), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) (Grant Ref: EP/L015099/1) and Klockner Pentaplast Group. Furthermore, we would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by Swansea University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, AIM Facility, which was funded in part by the EPSRC (EP/M028267/1), the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government (80708) and the Ser Solar project via Welsh Government.