Collaboration allows food industry to test ways to package and process products at Virginia Tech
The Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology and DuPont Teijin Films™ have entered into a collaboration that will allow companies to test new ways to package and prepare food using the university’s network of experts and DTF’s new packaging materials.
Virginia Tech has an award-winning food science program with professors and researchers in areas ranging from microbiology and food chemistry to sensory evaluation and protein science. The Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building 1 has a new 7,100- square-foot food processing pilot plant designed for scale-up testing on an industrial level.
Meanwhile, DTF has created various new packaging materials designed to make food packaging and preparation for products ranging from pork and chicken to pastries and vegetables.
“This relationship is a benefit to the food industry,” said Joe Marcy, head of the Department of Food Science and Technology. “The partnership between Virginia Tech and DTF allows us to work together to help companies develop new ways to package their foods.”
“The collaboration effort between Virginia Tech and DTF allows packaging, food science, formulation, cooking, and product evaluation all in one location,” said Stephen Franzyshen, market development manager for DTF. “Customers do not have to interrupt their production line time. With dedicated equipment and resources, we can ensure a high likelihood of success – significantly enhancing speed to market.”
The collaboration would allow companies to use the pilot plant to test new ways to package their products. The companies could use state-of-the-art ovens such as the commercial Rational Combi Oven, Merry Chef, as well as microwaves, home kitchen equipment, sous vide, vacuum tumblers, injectors, and Multivac R-120 thermoforming packaging equipment. Companies would also be able to bring in their own equipment to test packaging and preparation methods. At the same time, researchers from the department who were part of the contract would be available to lend their expertise.
For example, a poultry company could contract with Virginia Tech to be able to interact with food safety experts on the safest way to prepare, package, and cook the chicken, consult with another scientist who works with protein, then conduct a food sensory evaluation on the cooked chicken all in one location. All the while, the company could be examining how to use the DTF films to package their products.
DTF provides a broad range of film for food packaging including Mylar® COOK, Mylar® BAKE and Mylar® Harvest Fresh.
Mylar® COOK is a patented, ovenable pouch providing a convenient, “no touch” cooking solution, addressing safety concerns on handling raw meats. Proteins can be safely cooked inside the package itself, eliminating cleanup.
Mylar® BAKE is designed to deliver ideal browning to bakery products every time, while vacuum packaging eliminates freezer burn and rancidity. The ability to bake in the package provides isolation for gluten-free offerings.
Mylar® Harvest Fresh Lidding, allows producers to package their fruits and vegetables in environmentally friendly recycled packaging that will enhance shelf life. The package provides superior anti-fog properties for shelf appeal as well as easy peel, tamper evident features demanded by consumers.
The relationship between Virginia Tech and DTF is unique among higher education institutions that conduct food safety research and is representative of the university’s land-grant mission of conducting research that helps drive Virginia’s economic growth.