A Study of RTE Structural Packaging Design
Packaging plays an important role in decreasing the environmental impact and, simultaneously, improving well-being and safety of people. Due to a lack of time, ready-to-eat meal (RTE) offers more convenience choice to consumers than buying all ingredients and cooking at home. Thermoforming containers for RTE meals provides many packaging benefits such as protection and preservation, shelf life expansion, good appearance for display at point of purchase, convenience during transport and usage. However, thermoforming trays are made of plastic materials and are disposable packaging. This research project focuses on three parts: the study of the relationship between RTE food attributes and the structural packaging characteristics, the analysis of existing thermoforming structural design, and the synthesis of a new approach which takes the environmental impact into account for RTE packaging structures. The purposes of this research are (1) to investigate the technical design problems for these package’s structural characteristics by a thermoforming method, (2) to quantify the food packaging characteristics in relation to product attributes by using the perceptual mapping, as well as (3) to formulate a design guideline for the structural packaging characteristics which incorporates with the criterion of the environmental concern.
O. Panyarjun and T. Olarikabutr, "A Study of RTE Structural Packaging Design", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 308-310, pp. 1759-1765, 2011