A new aroma and flavour-releasing technology for packaging is being tested in consumer trials in bottled water and nutritional food packaging applications in the US.
The trials will finish in the next few months and products using the technology could be available to consumers this year. US company ScentSational Technologies is behind the product, which is also known as ScentSational.
In the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottled water trial the technology is incorporated into the lid. Other applications could include flavoured and scented bowls for ready to eat cereals, soup and instant meals, flavoured bottles for nutraceutical applications and flavoured lids for dairy product packaging.
ScentSational's technology is based on the premise that foods and beverages contained in packaging that smells better will taste better. Most of what people believe is taste is a result of their sense of smell and a process called retro-nasal olfaction. A consumer's taste experience can be improved by adding aromas to packaging.
Plastics used in packaging often migrate into their contents, giving off malodorous taste while also scalping desirable flavor. By adding flavour directly to the package the negative effects of migration and scalping can be mitigated or used in a positive way.
The ScentSational technology can be used by most plastic manufacturing equipment without changes to tooling. Many existing plastic packages on the market today could incorporate ScentSational technology.
The technology uses additives approved by the Food & Drug Administration in the US.
The flavours are incorporated into the plastic packaging at the time of injection-moulding, extrusion or thermoforming. The additives can be either artificial or natural. They are the same as those used to flavour food and drink except they are engineered to withstand hot processing conditions without losing their effectiveness. Once the flavours become encapsulated in plastic they last a long time and maintain their integrity.
The technology has taken five years to develop and seven patents cover a wide variety of applications in the food and drink packaging industry. Companies in Japan, South America, Europe and Australia are also interested in the technology.