Packaging design gets NZ$5m boost

Tuesday, 17 September, 2013

A project to improve the way export food products are packaged has been awarded NZ$5.1 million in funding.

Dr Andrew East from Massey University’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health and Professor John Bronlund from the university’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology will develop modelling tools to assist in the design of better packaging solutions for exporting food products.

While cardboard boxes may seem like a simple device, Dr East says they are an important tool in the supply chain in exporting food and other products.

“Currently, we have models and tools to test design, but what we are proposing is developing models to inform design,” Dr East said.

According to Professor Bronlund, a large percentage of New Zealand’s produce is exported in cardboard boxes, so the project is an important one. He says the models will allow design to be informed by a number of variables.

“There are lots of things you can vary such as the geometry of the box itself and the types of materials that are used to make it, and all those things are going to impact the functionality of the packaging - the strength of it, how air flows around it and the cost of it,” Professor Bronlund said. “You have to try to balance all those things.”

The team will work with industry on the project and hopes to produce models that can be applied to multiple food products in different transport chains.

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