Background: Meat packaging once acted primarily as an inert barrier to protect its contents
against contamination and this function has shifted.
Discussion: Packaging now includes complementary functions that improve product quality, longevity
and customer/retail appeal. The devices and methods applied to achieve these functions may
be categorised as smart packaging, which includes intelligent packaging, devised to monitor and
communicate packaged content status, and active packaging, to provide passive adjustment of inpack
conditions from its interactions with the packaged meat.
Conclusion: Smart packaging examples already available from recent patents include antimicrobial
and antioxidant packaging coatings and inserts; sensors or indicators that identify spoilage and
freshness; functional engineering customisations; improvements to packaging integrity; leak or
tamper detectors; and, environmentally sustainable options. Together, these inventions respond to
industry and customer demands for meat packaging and are therefore the focus of this review, in
which we discuss their applications and limitations in meat packaging.