Oxygen and light can alter the taste of foodstuffs. Manufacturers of packaging materials therefore try to protect contents from their influence. The latest approach is to use natural dyes in transparent plastic wrappers that selectively filter light.
Light and oxygen adversely affect the quality of most foodstuffs. In combination they cause various ingredients to undergo photo-oxidation. Fatty food substances become rancid and milk products develop an unpleasant "light-induced" taste. Certain ingredients such as the plant pigment chlorophyll or riboflavin (vitamin B2), exacerbate the loss of product quality due to their catalytic effect: they absorb light and transfer this energy to the oxygen, making it more reactive.
Manufacturers of food packaging are tackling these processes with two strategies: they either exclude oxygen by sealing packaging with nitrogen or they prevent exposure to light. The disadvantage of the first method is that the plastic must have a special sealing layer to prevent atmospheric oxygen permeating into the packaging. With the second method, the contents are only partially or not visible. But being able to see through the packaging is frequently desired for product presentation to customers.
Dr. Johannes Ehrlenspiel | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft - Presse
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