Oplon, Reynolds Group join hands to create packaging coatings
Oplon has joined hands with Reynolds Group to create antimicrobial coatings for their packaging; potentially increasing shelf life of products by months.
The length of the shelf life that each coating can offer depends on the food, the method of application, for instance injecting or spraying, and the type of packaging it is applied to but Oplon say they can engineer how long it lasts based on these factors.
The collaboration over 18 months to three years is “likely” to lead to Oplon-treated packages for US-based Reynolds across multiple brands and categories including fresh meat, liquid food and beverages.
Ronen Melnik, chairman of Oplon, said that some coatings could be ready within 18 months and others could possibly take longer in their development.
He said: “Many of the current solutions to fight spoilage organisms changes the flavour and nutritional properties of the foods and beverages we consume.
“Industrial processing of food, and the lengthening of delivery systems, has driven solutions which must extend shelf life, but this has come at a cost, both in terms of the product nutrition, and in terms of environmental impact”.
“By offering packaging that itself reduces spoilage we can improve the products and reduce costs at the same time,” he added.
Oplon is a materials science company which develops novel anti-microbial materials that they claim “are effectively surfaces that kill microbes in a safe way”.
Melnik said that opportunities in developing markets are even more exciting.
He said: “In many parts of the world, where chilled supply chains are non-existent the food value chain is very inefficient and suffers from high spoilage rates.
“Imagine if we can offer a packaging solution that can extend shelf life of fresh meat by just a few days. The entire business system in large parts of Africa and Asia could completely change”.
The firm also said that they were working with safe materials for food contact but would seek regulatory approval when each specific coating was developed.
Regarding the finish goal of the partnership, Melnik said: “To deliver an industrial scale solution to applying Oplon’s materials to packages, for specific products and needs.
“Oplon’s solution is complex and requires tailoring to the specific needs of food manufacturers, in some cases per food or beverage type. Also coating cartons, bottles, films at very large scale requires the two companies to work together to integrate the coating materials into the exiting manufacturing processes”.
The agreement will focus on the development, industrialisation and commercialisation of novel antimicrobial packaging for fresher, better tasting products with longer shelf lives.
This consists of a evaluation period, followed by development and adaptation to Reynolds manufacturing processes.
Oplon need industrialisation expertise through partnerships in each packaging category and application area in order to turn materials into specific products.
Melnik said: “We approached Reynolds as they are the ideal partner in terms of breadth of packaging categories (paperboard, flexible, HPDE, closures, films) and also the innovativeness and commitment to bringing new technologies into the market.
“We initiated contact with two of their companies, and the relationship quickly escalated to the holding group level in order to form a broader relationship. Having access to our technology can bring clear differentiation for them, and significant value add to their customers”.