UPM Shelf Life Guard Keeping an Eye on Packaged Foods

Archive 16.10.2007 0:00 EEST

(UPM, Helsinki, 16.10.2007, at 10.00) – UPM has developed a smart packaging solution that aids consumers and the food industry to monitor and self-assess their produce's shelf life. The company will introduce UPM Shelf Life Guard at the PacTec 2007 fair held at the Helsinki Fair Centre from 16 to 18 October 2007.

UPM Shelf Life Guard introduces further development in the functionality of food packaging. In addition to performing its primary function, the package also gives consumers directions on use and product information. With UPM Shelf Life Guard, a unique label turns from transparent to blue, informing the consumer that air has replaced the modified atmosphere gases within the package.

Food packaging traditionally uses modified gases to prolong food. UPM Shelf Life therefore clearly shows that food is not fit for consumption due to loss of integrity or damage to the package. Air may cause the quality of a food product to deteriorate. It may result in the growth of unwanted bacterial activity, loss of colour and aroma, unsavoury odours, loss of nutritional value or physical changes like drying and rancidity.

“The colour change of the packaging label allows the consumer to make a personal assessment of the product based on his/her own sensory findings, and consume the product well before the best before date. An uninterrupted cold chain and the correct storage of products are the basis of food safety. UPM Shelf Life Guard is an easy quality control tool for shops and producers alike”, says Timo Äijälä, UPM, Venture Manager, Smart Labels.

Officials also welcome the idea of functional intelligent packaging solutions. “Finland is at the forefront of developing and producing food products with health benefits. Similar development that aids the food industry can be seen in these innovations regarding food packaging”, says Jaana Husu-Kallio from Evira, the Finnish Food Safety Authority.

UPM Shelf Life Guard has been tested in the Lapin Liha meat factory outlet, The Tampere University Hospital and Wigren meat products at the department store Stockmann in Tampere.

The intelligent packaging product family, designed for use in the food industry, also includes the Freshness Guard. It informs if deterioration in poultry or fish products in modified atmosphere or vacuum packages has already begun.

Both UPM Shelf Life Guard and the Freshness Guard adhere to the European Union regulations (EU 1935/2004) regarding food packaging. The UPM Venturing Department continues to develop and commercialise the intelligent packaging product family.

More information and pictures can be found at www.shelflifeguard.com

The PacTec 2007 Fair in the Helsinki Fair Centre from 16 to 18 October 2007, 9:00–17:00, UPM at stand 6g4.

For more information:
Mr Timo Äijälä, Venture Manager, UPM, Smart Labels, tel. +358 40 760 6210

UPM is a global forest products group with core businesses in printing papers, speciality papers, label materials and wood products. In its main product areas, UPM is a leading manufacturer in all key markets. UPM's goal is to be the best and most attractive company in the industry. The Group's sales in 2006 were EUR 10 billion and it has about 28,000 employees. The company has production units in 14 countries. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki and New York stock exchanges.

UPM works together with its customers to develop innovative product and service solutions for business needs. UPM's Corporate Venturing department focuses on the development and commercialisation of new business ideas, like intelligent packaging products for the food industry. Corporate venturing projects are for example RFID business, electronic paper and wood plastic composites.