Background: The workshop was conducted by the Eximius Centre of Export Import Bank of India, at Bangalore on October 30, 2001. The principal objective of the workshop was to educate the participants on changing trends of packaging designs and systems across the globe, in order to improve their export capability and to penetrate their presence into the developed country markets. The workshop also covered techniques and methodology of preserving food products.
Faculty: Dr. H. B. N. Murthy, renowned packaging expert and practising consultant was the core faculty for the workshop. Dr. Mridul Salgame, Director, Regional Food Research Analysis Centre (R-FRAC), Bangalore covered aspects related to preservation of food products.
Target Sectors:The seminar targeted the industry and trading community of food products including, fresh fruits and vegetables, processed fruits and vegetables, meat and marine products.
Summary of Proceedings: The seminar started with an introduction and definition to packaging. While defining what is packaging, Dr Murthy indicated that all the three 'P's of packaging, viz 'Protection', 'Preservation' and 'Presentation', have to be satisfied in an appropriate manner. Dr. Murthy further informed the participants that the final form of any packaging should address issues related to Appearance, Protection, Function, Cost and Disposability. With reference to the food products, protection criterion plays an important role in packaging. Protection is normally required against two main hazards viz., chemical and physical. Chemical interaction between the product and its containers is doubly undesirable, because it may cause damage to the products as well as to the packaging container.
Elaborating on the various systems of packaging and the revolutions that have happened in portion packaging, Dr. Murthy said that the aseptic system of packaging has helped the industry to do such portion packaging as convenient as possible. Regarding the pre-packaging systems for fresh fruits and vegetables, it was informed that earlier there was a feeling among the consumers that the pre-packed vegetables may have lost its quality. Even today, in many of the super markets option is kept open to the consumers to select either unpacked or pre-packed fruits and vegetables.
In her address, Dr. Salgame classified food items in to the following three broad categories, viz, non-perishables (whole grain cereals, whole and split pulses, nuts and oil seeds, sugar and jaggery) semi-perishables (baked roasted, popped or toasted cereals and legumes, ground flours and certain fruits and vegetables) and perishables (animal foods such as milk, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, plant foods like fruits and vegetables). The selection of the appropriate preservation technique largely depends on the stability and the category of the food, Dr. Salgame said. It was informed that food items are generally preserved with the objective of increasing shelf life, making the seasonal food available through out the year and in order to improve the nutrition. Dr. Salgame also explained the participants on various methods to extend protection from gas and moisture, which are very much required for the food products to preserve crispness and taste.
The seminar also gave an opportunity to the participants to interact with the faculty on the specific packaging and preservation problems faced by them.