VTT creates 100% bio-based stand-up pouch for crisps, potato chips and muesli

The bio-based pouch. Picture: VTT.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed lightweight 100% bio-based stand-up pouches using its patent pending enzymatic fibrillation of cellulose (HefCel) technology.

The product has efficient oxygen, grease and mineral oil barrier properties by using different biobased coatings on paper substrate.

Fatty dry foods

Jari Vartiainen, senior scientist, VTT, told FoodQualityNews, the stand-up pouches will be commercially available in two to three years and they are suitable for fatty dry foods such as crisps, potato chips and muesli.

We have been developing this technology since 2015 in collaboration with our industrial partners,” he said.

HefCel technology is a low-cost method for producing high consistency nanocellulose with low energy industrial mixers. The production concept is based on a tailored cellulose enzyme mixture that enables efficient fibrillation of pulp fibers without extensive hydrolysis.”

The resulting nanocellulose is in the consistency of 15-25% when traditional nanocellulose production methods result in 1-3% consistency.

Vartiainen added the team was excited to launch the technology especially in light of the recent Paris Climate Agreement where the development of environmentally sustainable packaging materials is of growing importance.

It is the first time it has launched a paper-based stand-up pouch based on its own HefCel technology. Two years ago VTT developed a bio-based transparent pouch for nuts and cereals where TEMPO-oxidized nanocellulose was exploited as an oxygen barrier layer.

The stand-up pouch is the fastest growing type of packaging, growing at a rate of 6.5% per year from 2015-2020, according to VTT.

Plastic films

Fossil-based plastic films still dominate the packaging market. However, the development of environmentally friendly materials is of growing importance. Nanocellulose has been shown to be potentially useful for a number of future technical applications.

"One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Packaging with efficient barrier properties is a crucial factor in the reduction of the food loss,” added Vartiainen.

Our pouches offer an environmentally friendly option for the global packaging industry."

VTT has expertise in bio-based raw materials and their application technologies for producing bio-based coatings, films and multi-layered structures at lab-scale and pilot-scale.

It has a number of pilot facilities from raw material sourcing through processing to application testing and demonstration. 

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