A strategic research and development plan with a focus on the food packaging of the future.

Food packaging of the future

New, sustainable, intelligent and recyclable packaging concepts must be developed within the next ten years. This through various research and innovation projects.


This roadmap was developed by Pack4Food and the four spearhead clusters: Flanders’ FOOD (Agri-food industry), VIL (Logistics), Catalisti (Chemicals-Synthetics) and SIM (Materials). It is about a common vision strategy regarding sustainable packaging. The focus is on three areas: more circular packaging, intelligent packaging and better logistical processes.

Pack4Food logo
VIL logo
Catalisti Logo
SIM logo
Flanders' FOOD logo

Circular packaging

Protect, store and communicate: these are the three packaging objectives. And they contribute to less food waste. But there is an ecological price to pay. The involved sectors commit to using innovation to work on more circular packaging in the years to come, without affecting quality and safety and still battling food waste.

Ecodesign will become standard. The focus will be on recycling and re-use from the design phase on. How? Through close cooperation between the sectors and by seamlessly aligning sorting and recycling processes.

Intelligent packaging

Increasing urbanisation and a changing lifestyle mean a lot of new packaging challenges. For example, better traceability is essential for informing the consumer about the quality and food safety of products faster and simpler. This roadmap is aimed at active, intelligent and personalised packaging.

Increasing the development speed of new packaging materials and technologies throughout the entire packaging chain is an important basis. A great deal of food waste can certainly be prevented with new, smart packaging. As a result, the entire carbon footprint will decrease substantially.

Logistical processes

Without efficient logistical processes throughout the food packaging chain, circular and smart packaging make little difference. This is why we also want to map out those logistical needs and encourage digital platforms.

Digitisation allows all of the links in the chain to communicate more efficiently and increase the compatibility of digital processes. This is absolutely crucial in giving ecodesign a chance. Logistics means more and more all the way to the consumer's front door, for example, through e-commerce. This means both opportunities and challenges. We want to provide the necessary solutions with this roadmap in the coming years.

  • Ecodesign: Packaging meeting circular economy needs: re-duce, re-use, re-cycle, re-new, re-design
  • Improved Packaging: Maximised food protection, packaging for new food, production process and logistic needs
  • Sort: Packaging allowing 100% sorting
  • Recycle: High quality recycling processes
  • Smart Packaging: Sensor technology, smart benefits (authentication, traceability, tamper proof).
  • IOT-AI: Digitisation in packaging, connected packaging
  • B-Model: New packaging designs supporting new business models
  • Logistics: Supply chain efficiency, omni channel packaging
  • Legislation: Supporting future technologies
  • Interest Groups: Building network to support packaging technologies
  • Communication: Increased knowledge and understanding of packaging materials and functions, creating awareness on new technologies

The four blocks with eleven concepts in one overview

Roadmap voedselverpakking van de toekomst

Pack4Food initiates and coordinates projects in collaboration with companies and research institutes on both Flemish and European levels. An important driving force is the roadmap 'Food Packaging of the Future', which was officially launched at the end of 2019. In 2020, a strategic cooperation with Flanders' FOOD was created to deploy this roadmap through various projects, together with companies, knowledge partners, other spearhead clusters and stakeholders in the food packaging chain.

Meet the roadmap comittee

Peter Ragaert
Director at Pack4Food & Professor food packaging technology at UGent
Tim Van Caelenberg
Packaging Development Manager
Cynthia Linclau
R&D Packaging Developer
Ann Nachtergaele
Directeur Environnement & Energie
Liesje De Schamphelaire
Environmental Affairs & Energy Advisor
Brian Ameys
IT & QESH (Quality, Environment, Safety & Health) manager at Mondi Group
Wim Grymonprez
New Business Development Manager Plastics (VKC-Centexbel)
Isabel De Schrijver
R&D Manager Plastic Characterization, Processing and Recycling (PCPR) + Functional Thermoplastic Textiles (FTT) (VKC-Centexbel)
Kris Van de Voorde
Innovation Program Manager at IMEC - supporting Flemish companies with technological innovations
Inge Dirinck
innovatie manager (freelance)

More information?

Angelique Vandemoortele
Angelique Vandemoortele
project manager @ Pack4Food
Veerle De Graef
innovation manager
Inge Dirinck
innovation manager (freelance)