Bio-based coatings for metal packaging

A project called Biocopac aims to make better use of Europe’s tomato by-products by using bio-based coatings derived from the fruit in metal packaging.

Biocopac was launched at a meeting that was held in Parma, Italy, at the Experimental Station for the Food Preserving Industry (SSICA). Dr Angela Montanari, head of the packaging department at SSICA, is coordinating the project, which is being financed by the FP7 programme ‘Research for the benefit of SMEs’.

Biocopac aims at developing a novel natural lacquer for metal packaging applications. The lacquer will be developed re-using tomato waste products (eg peels) to extract cutin for developing a 100% natural resin. The research concept is based on an old patent developed by SSICA. Advances in bio-based products research aim to find new technically effective and affordable alternatives for mass market applications.

Every year millions of tons of tomatoes are used, and large amounts of tomato by-products are treated as waste. Instead of simply landfilling this material, Biocopac will develop a range of alternative bio based lacquers for the canned food industry. With growing pressure for companies to adopt eco-friendly packaging, the project is expected to boost the competitiveness of the industry. The targeted eco-innovation will ensure sustainability and improved consumer protection. Biocopac, making a better use of Europe’s renewable agri-food resources, will enable businesses to deliver green growth and environmental benefits.

The consortium behind the project is a private-public partnership including four leading research centres, four small and medium enterprises and three large enterprises from six different EU countries. The partnership encompasses the whole agri-food chain, from the tomato transformation and waste treatment industries, up to the lacquers and can manufacturers.

The project partners include: Stazione Sperimentale per l’Industria delle Conserve Alimentari; Centro Tecnológico Agroalimentario Extremadura; Fundación Tecnalia Research & Innovation; Synpo; Salchi Metalcoat; Chiesa Virginio Azienda Agricola; Conservas Martinete; National Can Hellas: Rodolfi Mansueto; Schekolin AG; and Saupiquet.

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