CAFRE’s Loughry Campus located at Cookstown, Northern Ireland has established a reputation for developing learners with the knowledge and skills relevant in a dynamic agri-food industry. Investment in a unique Food Packaging Centre has created state-of-the-art packaging evaluation facilities comparable to many leading packaging testing laboratories in Europe. Within the Centre the Packaging Technology Team work alongside Food Technologists to develop the skills of learners on full time and part time food courses from Diploma to BSc (Hons) levels.
Packaging is an integral part of food and drink products and is vital to maintaining product safety and quality during distribution and storage. Students undertaking innovation activities at CAFRE are supported to develop and create prototype packs in parallel with the development of recipe and processing specifications.
Packaging Material Assessment
When selecting new, improved or more sustainable packaging materials and technologies it is essential to determine the performance characteristics of the packaging materials. An extensive range of assessments can be conducted including tensile, leak, friction, seal integrity, thermo analysis and gas/vapour permeability of materials within an environmentally controlled laboratory. The centre also has the ability to assess the effect of distribution hazards such as compression, shock, drop and vibration on packaged products using specialised testing equipment. The characteristics of actual distribution environments can also be measured and simulated.
In a consumer driven society, developing packaging which meets end user needs, environmental needs and business needs can be challenging. To resolve problems associated with packaging development, the Centre uses a combination of standard assessments combined with bespoke testing regimes. British Standards and international test methods are followed where appropriate but may need modification to replicate the scenarios encountered within a commercial setting.