Experts Rely On Chocolate To Save Food Packaging

Mar 23, 2016 05:30 AM EDT | By Anita Valensia

Chemical lab at Iggesund, Sweden, used chocolate to analyze packaging materials. Packaging is supposed to preserve the quality and flavor of an edible product but the oxygen, heat, and light may actually change the odor and taste of foods. Sara Jonsson, a chemical analyst in the Laboratory for Sensory and Chemical, Iggesund, explained that chocolate is commonly used on tests and experiments.

With a teamwork of 40 analysts in the panel, the experiment was to determine if the goods have been influenced by the packaging. Placing it together with a packaging material - chocolate can absorb volatile compound that could change its flavor. Compared to water and butter, chocolate is said to be more convenient due to its ability to absorb foreign odors.

According to a report in 'Sensory Testing Methods: A Manual' the transfer testing approach is effective in determining if odors and tastes are imparted to other substance.

Where does it lead?

Packaging might influence the flavor of a product it wraps. The migration of odors and flavors due to direct contact - from packaging to the product must be avoided. A food packaging should protect food to remain taint-free and maintain its flavor. Food manufacturers are now choosing carefully and cautiously - the inks, varnishes, paperboards, and glues - to avoid the change of odor.

Paperboard - as a secondary packaging - is used to protect foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products. To maintain the quality, manufacturers can place a barrier between the foodstuff and paperboard. Jonsson suggests aluminum foil to restrict flavor loss.

Odor and microbial contamination, according to Edvin Thurfjell from Invercote, has to be minimized. Using virgin fiber board, the foods will have consistent odor and taste. This type of board is clean and stable with good convertibility that can do both, promoting and protecting contents.

What do customers have to say?

In 1980, an England chocolate manufacturer was offered a better packaging that doesn't interact much with its content. The company declined it after finding out that their customers wanted the board flavor. Apart from the research, customers want consistency in the products they buy. For special brands, switching the packaging material might lead to the loss of customers due to the unexpected flavor change. Milk in a carton, for instance, does not taste like milk directly from the cow but it's what customers are used to. 

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