Controlling the temperature of food packages during transport is needed with the rise of online shopping. During transport, food requires cold temperatures to maintain freshness. A major issue is the undesired warming of food when packages are exposed to warm temperatures on airport tarmacs and temporary unrefrigerated storage during air transportation. To solve this problem, phase change materials (PCMs) can maintain package temperature by changing their phase from liquid to solid or vice versa, to absorb or release latent heat. Although this technology is still not fully commercially viable yet, it has good potential. This article reviews all aspects of PCM packaging, including their classification, technical approaches, and commercial applications, with focus on the direct integration of PCM into food package systems. The article also provides guidelines for future research and reveals aspects that still hinder the full exploitation of PCM in the food packaging industry. To make PCM packaging commercially viable, research needs to consider aspects such as cost, consumer acceptance and confidence, regulatory aspects, e.g., labeling, and multifunctionality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry