The Paris event marked the first time that IPA -- primarily a food processing exhibition -- and Emballage -- a multi-industry packaging show -- combined their events under a single roof, in this case that of the cavernous Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre near Charles DeGaulle Airport.
Although exhibitors and visitors were from countries as far flung as China, Turkey and Brazil, exhibits and seminars at the two events suggested that most attendees were grappling with similar issues and challenges, regardless of geography.
For instance, current industry pressure to improve food product preservation was reflected in the increase of plastic films on display at Emballage this year, with 3M, Du Pont de Nemours, Mobil Plastics, Klockner Pentaplast, Sealed Air (Cryovac) and several others all present and accounted for at the five-day event.
In general, the beverage sector was well represented at Emballage -- and these days, where beverages go, plastics follow. Plenty of buzz surrounded the move toward multi-layer PET and other barrier techniques for beer. Estimates tossed around at Emballage suggested that the share of the beer market held by plastics should increase by 2 percent to 3 percent annually, and reach 5 percent by the end of 2002. It was noted that the first PET beer bottle, which was made of single-layer PET, was produced in Australia and had a shelf life of seven weeks.
Other food packaging trends gleaned at Emballage included:
Among other exhibits, 30 technical innovations were highlighted at the concurrent IPA event. Selected by French research laboratories and technical centers, the technologies were classified by themes ranging from texturization and process control/quality assurance to handling and slaughtering.
Specific technologies included non-thermal pasteurization by pulsed electric field, which treats pumpable products continuously and consists of two serial treatment chambers with a maximum capacity of 100 liters per hour. Also showcased was a pulsed light sterilization system that employs photothermal and photochemical methods to destroy micro-organisms on the surface of foods and on packaging. The method is especially effective against spore-forming bacteria, mold, viruses and protozoans.
Emballage likewise highlighted new and promising materials and methods with its "2000 Packaging Oscars," a 55-year-old program that annually honors scores of French packaging innovations. Entries were grouped by markets --including food -- and evaluated by committees of industry specialists and trade journalists on the basis of technical merit and marketability, among other criteria.
Among the winners:
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