When products like tomatoes or bananas make their way onto a shelf in a supermarket they already came a long way. Consumers expect fresh products that won’t go off immediately after purchasing them. In the past stores struggled with keeping fresh products fresh. Smart packaging that use microperforation offer a solution to this issue.

Already 3 years ago a group of supermarkets in the UK decided to use modified moisture packaging (MMP) for produce like tomatoes. With a computer-guided laser tiny holes were cut into the packaging. This technique allowed the product inside to continue the ripening process. The vegetables were able to receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide – and therefore lasted 2 days longer.

If regular packaging would have been used, the packaged tomatoes would have either dried up or started to rot and food would have been wasted. A great side effect to the improved packaging with microperforation: Consumer complaints plummeted after the introduction.

Microperforation for ready meals

Not only fresh products benefit from this technology. Consumers eat more and more fast and easy to prepare ready meals. The variety of these meals has experienced a huge growth in the past years and so have the difficulties for producers. How can a meal with meat and vegetables that have different cooking times be heated simultaneously? The answer is yet again: Laser cut microperforation.

With precise perforation patterns the level of steam and pressure in different compartments can be individually controlled. That means that the meat will be cooked through while the vegetables stay still crisp.

New ideas

While microperforation in the packaging industry is not a new phenomenon, more and more producers use it now. The technological advancement in precision cutting makes it possible now that this technique can be used in many ways. From keeping products fresh for a longer period of time and reducing food waste to new food preparation techniques, smart packaging enables consumers to have a better food experience.