Considerations for optimal food barrier packaging
20 October 2021
Lynneric Potter, Food Packaging Technical Lead
The simplicity of packaging disguises the extensive research and care taken to achieve the optimisation and elongation
of a packaged food’s shelf life. With a growing variety of new and established materials, each with specific characteristics, increases the
potential for selecting unsuitable packaging material, which may render the enclosed product vulnerable to surrounding environmental factors,
such as water, humidity, and oxygen, including its future storage.
Food and packaging materials have different
sets of properties, so it is important to understand what these are when determining the optimum solution. To ensure sufficient protection
of the product and, maintain its desired shelf-life, we have
taken a closer look at how packaging material properties can be measured.
Barrier properties tests on packaging
With the presence of oxygen leading to unwanted microbiological proliferation and, with certain food extremely sensitive to moisture, barrier
testing identifies properties that prove the efficacy of each element of the packaging. The
permeability of materials at specific
environmental conditions is measured with:
Both tests are
carried at Campden BRI for plastic materials
mainly, including films and rigid containers, but also for board formats and bottle closures.
What can I do with OTR and WVTR measurements?
To ensure packaged products or packaging materials provide the desired product shelf life, it is critical to understand the OTR
and WVTR through both the materials and the final finished package.
Wherever you are in your product journey, the OTR and WVTR
data we generate can support your product development, manufacture, and marketing by:
- Validating new material and developing packaging specification. With a range of storage rooms available from -18°C to 40°C,
material can be stored and tested periodically, for example for shelf-life storage trials, to understand if the barrier properties are
impacted by temperatures and humidity variation. This is particularly important with new materials when there is no historical data
- Ensuring the material, you receive is to your specification. We can measure:
- WVTR - between 0.005-100g/m2/day for films and packages and testing is carried out according to ASTM F1249.
- OTR – between 0.008- 432000cc/m2/day - ASTM D-3985 for films and packages and testing is carried out according to ASTM
F1927or ASTM D-3985.
- Helping you as a one-source solution if you are having an issue with a material along with other physical tests and analysis.
Lynneric Potter is a food packaging specialist within the Department of Food Manufacturing Technologies at Campden BRI where she has worked since
1999. Lynneric’s main activities involve consultancy and testing of packaging materials to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Food barrier packaging
Find out more about barrier packaging materials and discover how we can help you extend the
shelf-life of your products.
Need help in this area?
Campden BRI offers independent analysis as part of a wider testing regime if required. Our range
of complementary methods are available to assess whether your packaging is fit for purpose, including strength and integrity testing.