Here at Protective Packaging Limited, we have shipped our barrier foil packaging solutions to customers all over the world – and even into space!
In August of this year, we worked with the aerospace engineers at Eat Freedom to create a packaging solution that would enable them to send their gourmet freeze-dried meals to Samantha Cristoforetti, an ESA astronaut currently on the Minerva mission.
When sending food into space, it is important that the food is engineered for consumption in a zero-gravity environment. The food must be freeze-dried or dehydrated in order to be consumable in such conditions. It must also be high in nutritional value and rich in flavour to keep astronauts healthy and motivated during long missions, as one of the effects of microgravity in space is that it reduces the sense of taste.
When it came to packaging and shipping their meals, Eat Freedom encountered three fundamental problems. The food needed to be thermostabilised and protected to give it a shelf life of approximately 18-24 months; the nutritional value of the food needed to be maintained; and the original appearance, texture and flavour of the meals needed to be preserved. The packaging also needed to ensure that the food would be edible directly from the pouch, from the moment the packaging is opened.
With these requirements in mind, we were able to design bespoke flat pouches made from a food contact-approved barrier foil. The 9 microns of aluminium in the composite material we used allowed our pouches to preserve the thermostabilisation of the food over long periods of time, whilst maintaining its nutritional value and its original appearance, texture and flavour.
After working closely with Eat Freedom to design a flat pouch specifically engineered to their needs, our pouches were used to package and send food into space! The barrier foil we supplied enabled the meals to be protected long-term in extreme conditions, both in terms of their nutritional content and their appearance, texture and flavour.