Shelf Life and Packaging

Packaging and Shelf-Life

 In today‚Äôs society, packaging is pervasive and essential. It surrounds, enhances and protects the goods we buy, from processing and manufacturing, through handling and storage, to the final consumer. Without packaging, materials handling would be a messy, inefficient and costly exercise and modern consumer marketing would be virtually impossible. The role of packaging is being increasingly recognised owing to its multiple functions and to its importance in terms of increasing product shelf life by retarding product quality degradation and ensuring its safety. Many commercial food packages are developed largely by empirical or trial-and-error methods that lead to ineffective designs and poor products, especially when dealing with complex products like fresh fruits and vegetables which are live biological products. Application of fundamentals of engineering in packaging design is an emerging area for developing optimal packaging systems for range of products from pharmaceutical tablets to food systems. The Department of Process and Chemical Engineering has been conducting research in packaging for a number of years with following specific areas:

  • Post harvest technology of fresh produce with particular emphasis on MAP and CAS,
  • Mathematical modelling of food systems particularly respiration rate & transpiration rate
  • Measurement of moisture absorption kinetics & quality indicators,
  • Packaging design and optimisation,
  • Quality, shelf-life and packaging studies
  • Development and application of desiccants in food/pharmaceutical packaging system,
  • Development of user-friendly computer software for food packaging design,
  • Development & application of edible/biodegradable films and coatings
  • Experimental design and data analysis strategies.

In addition to frontier research, we also offer services in this area to packaging and food & drink companies, including:

  • Provision of tailored user-friendly software for engineering packaging design, and performance and risk assessment of packaging systems;
  • Assessment of packaging requirements, packaging options and novel solutions;
  • Establishing predictive shelf life tools and shelf life assessment programmes.

Contact personnel:

Dr. Jorge Oliveira                  email:

Dr Maria deSousa Gallagher    email:

Process and Chemical Engineering

Innealtóireacht Próiseas agus Cheimiceach

Room 312, 3rd floor, Food Science Building, University College Cork