New whey-based natural active packaging extends cheese shelf life

New whey-based natural active packaging extends cheese shelf life

Sustainability

The Go Orleans research project has successfully developed natural active packaging with anti-fungal properties based on whey, a by-product of cheese production.

This innovative packaging, developed by AIMPLAS, can extend the shelf life of cheese by up to 50%, making it one of the most effective solutions against food waste. The active coating is included in the packaging using conventional printing technologies, which makes it easy to implement in the small-scale cheese industry.

In addition to improving the preservation of cheese, the project also provides a solution to the problem of whey waste, which can cause environmental issues due to its high organic load. By reusing whey to develop the active coating, the project has contributed to a circular economy and a more sustainable cheese industry.

The Universitat de València played a vital role in the project by selecting anti-fungal strains present in whey to obtain bioactive ingredients through fermentation. ADM Biopolis also contributed to the project by determining the probiotic capacity of the active components extracted from whey and their suitability for animal feed.

New whey based natural active packaging extends cheese shelf life
© AIMPLAS

Cheesemakers La Cabezuela and Dehesa Dos Hermanas supplied the whey, selected the cheeses, and validated the new packaging. Thanks to the commitment to innovation and technology, the new packaging not only reduces food waste but also favours cheesemaker competitiveness and promotes innovation in the dairy industry.

The project also provides new business opportunities with customers in more remote regions by allowing cheesemakers to market healthier products without synthetic preservatives. This opens up new opportunities for small cheesemakers, which make up more than 90% of all cheesemakers in Spain.

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