Active Packaging describes mainly food packaging that has active functions beyond passive containment and protection with the aim to maintain and extend the shelf life of products. This type of packaging interacts chemically or biologically with its contents to extend food preservation, while maintaining the quality of the packaged food.
The introduction of oxygen scavenging sachets in 1978 is considered the start of active packaging. Beside oxygen scavenging, there are also other applications used in active packaging like moisture absorbers, antimicrobial agents, ethylene absorbers and carbon dioxide emitters. All of these can be used to counteract weak points in the preservation and shelf life of contained food.
These active packaging technologies are expected to keep growing significantly, as consumer demands for premium quality food products rise, which provide suitable shelf life, safety, convenience, and additional information.