Background: Food packaging technology is continuously evolving in response to the growing
challenges in modern society. Active and intelligent packaging systems are two innovative branches
of the packaging field, which allow the development of food products with extended shelf life, enhanced
food quality and safety.
Objective: The current work reviewed the most relevant recent patents and scientific publications on the
different categories of active and intelligent packaging systems and currently available commercial applications
with a closer look to the application of nanotechnology applied to the food packaging sector.
Methods: The work has been carried out combining a qualitative/quantitative approach. In the specific
patent data were combined with the most relevant scientific publication on food packaging technology.
Results: The most recent patents and scientific works have been discussed with more emphasis on the
use of nanotechnology for the development of new packaging materials with improved mechanical, barrier
and antimicrobial properties and on the use of bio-based nanocomposites as a way to improve the
technological properties of green materials, replacing conventional non-biodegradable petroleum-based
plastic packaging materials.
Conclusions: Low diffusion of active and intelligent packaging in EU countries has been related to their
high costs and to the lack of a worldwide accepted legislation about their safety issues. Even though
much progress has been made, further research still needs to be conducted on how these solutions may
affect product characteristics.