SalMar and Nofima researchers develop thin packaging that can dramatically reduce plastic consumption

Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) and salmon farmer have created a thin plastic that has reduce consumption by 10 per cent ie: 27 tons a year.

The SeaPack innovation project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, run by SalMar, as well as Norsk Lastebærer Pool (NLP), Tommen Gram, Multivac, Lycro, Marel, Praxair and Keep-it Technologies according to Sciencenordic.

“We have investigated the potential for reducing the thickness of the plastic material without compromising on the quality and durability of the packaging or shelf life of the fillets. We have determined that it is entirely possible to use thinner plastics and thereby reduce plastic consumption,” said Marit Kvalvåg Pettersen, Senior Researcher at Nofima.

The idea behind the project is to reduce plastic use when salmon fillets are exported from Norway in big batches (containing between 10 and 12 kilograms of fillets at a time). When they packed into transportation containers, packages are handled by machines. Researchers developed a thinner, more flexible plactic that could withstand to handle the process, while also protecting the product against oxygen.

27 tons
The new Seapack packaging solutions have already been implemented.

“Based on the project results, we have opted to switch to thinner plastic films for big batch packages. As a consequence, we have reduced plastic use by 27 tons a year,” said Pål Storø from SalMar.

Shelf life
“The shelf life and quality of fish are determined by the number of spoilage bacteria. Our analyses of bacterial growth in fish stored at four degrres Celsius after four, eight, twelve, and fifteen days, showed, in general, no significant differences between packages with different plastic film thicknesses,” added Marit Kvalvåg Pettersen.