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Top-Rated Food Packaging Innovations Focus on Performance and End-of-Life Solutions

Lux Research

Lux Research assessed the most promising innovations for the next generation of packaging that can meet needs for healthier food, longer life, and environmentally-friendly disposal

BOSTON, MA – January 18, 2017 – A number of new packaging materials are emerging as the packaging industry balances consumer preferences, performance standards, and end-of-life solutions in its quest for innovation.  Mineralized additives, liquid-infused coatings, vacuum-insulated panels and polyethylene furanoate are the most promising advances today, according to Lux Research.

“A number of next-generation materials are emerging but bio-based waxes and nanocellulose need further refining while bio-based polyurethanes and starch-based composites hold long-term potential,” said Gihan Hewage, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report titled, “Thinking Outside the Box: Identifying Materials Innovations in Packaging.”


Lux Research evaluated several new materials from four broad classes of materials technologies – additives, coatings, thermal management materials, and structural materials – on performance, end-of-life solutions and maturity. Among their findings:

  • CPG heavyweights testing new products. In the race toward new packaging materials, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Carlsberg, and P&G are developing plant-based bottles. Dell and Puma are among those using Evocative Design’s mushroom-based packaging, and Unilever aims to cut weight and increase recyclable content.

  • Calcium carbonate is a standout performer for recyclability. Among mineral additives, calcium carbonate stands out for its performance, improving the recyclability of virgin resin when added to conventional polymers. Other additives, such as nanocellulose, allyl isothiocyanate and nanoclays, have viable end-of-life solutions but lag on performance.

  • Non-packaging innovations help, too. Packaging innovation extends beyond materials. Advances in recycling, for example, help by enabling viable end-of-life solutions for more materials, and Internet of Things (IoT) supports packaging for cargo and shipping containers. Similarly, wearable and flexible electronics, and digital health and wellness technologies broaden packaging options.

The report, titled “Thinking Outside the Box: Identifying Materials Innovations in Packaging,” is part of the Lux Research 
Advanced Materials Intelligence and the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Intelligence services.