Phone: (+39) 0250316659
Fax: (+39) 0250316672
Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano (Italy)

Packlab history

A laboratory exclusively devoted to packaging research (the Packlab) has been established in the Department of Food Science and Microbiology (DISTAM) since 1985. At that time, the first course of Food Packaging and Distribution was offered in our Country, within the curriculum of Food Science and Technology in the Faculty of Agriculture of University of Milan.

From then on an intense activity of both applied research and specialist teaching begun in the Packlab. Due to the very fast and worldwide growing importance of the food packaging sector, also Packlab grew quickly. In these almost 25 years several collaborations have been established with companies in the food as well as in the packaging sector and many relationships have been instituted with other Universities and Research Centers in Italy and abroad. A list of the main significant partnerships is reported in the section "Facts & Figures" of this web site.

A fundamental driving force for Packlab growth during these years, however, has been provided by the great number of students, post graduated, PhD students and post docs that enthusiastically worked with us, for short or longer time, but always leaving us some tracks of their intelligence, their skills and their ideas.


Packlab vision and values

We look at Food Packaging as an applied science – To deal with food packaging means to deal with materials, objects and techniques so widely spread and daily handled or used that is difficult and somehow strange to think about them as subjects of a scientific discipline. Packaging, however, and food packaging in particular, is a scientific discipline which apply the principles of fundamental sciences like physics, chemistry and biology to very common and useful items. We truly believe that is possible (or better, it is necessary) to observe, to understand and to strictly measure whatever deals with food packaging, in few words, to apply scientific methods to food packaging.

We trust in Scientific Research - Scientific research is a team activity, with no boundaries; it must be carried out without preconceptions and nationalisms. Scientific research must be conscious of economical implications but always free of business constraints. The findings of scientific research must be made available to the largest share. Intellectual property has to be protected but at the same time no hurdle should be posed to the circulation of knowledge.

We want to spread a Food Packaging Scientific Culture – For a long time packaging advancement has been accomplished by empirical approaches and through a marketing vision only; innovation in packaging materials and techniques is too often based on short-term perspectives. Nowadays, the packaging relevance to economy, environment and consumer safety is so huge that a different and more conscious approach seems necessary. In this direction a packaging education is urgent in different contexts and teaching, particularly when aimed to experiential learning, is certainly essential.

We believe that packages, packaging materials and packaging technologies are essential tools for humans beings development – To improve food safety, reduce resources depletion, save economical values and protect the environment a great effort in packaging optimization is absolutely needed. More than an inexperienced packaging reduction, increasing shelf lives, enhancing packaging performance, finding more environmental friendly packaging solutions are the best achievements to seek for.

Since 1999, people in at Packlab are engaged to transfer these values within GSICA, the Italian Scientific Group for Food Packaging. GSICA is a not-for-profit organization, which deals with cultural purposes in a sustainable development view. It is aimed to improve the communication among food packaging scientists, both in the public and in private institutions, encouraging people to engage in an open dialogue, sharing experiences.


Packlab main scientific activities

The understanding of basic phenomena staying behind the packaging properties and performance, their description and modelling, the most advanced methods for testing materials and packages, the interactions between food and packages, the design of new materials and new material’s properties are, from a general point of view, the most important themes of Packlab activity, both in teaching and in research.

People at Packlab provide regular courses of Fundamentals of Packaging Technologies, Advanced Food Packaging and Food Logistics at the undergraduate level as well as graduate and post-graduated levels. Very often the educational activities are also offered out of the Academic Departments, directly to Companies or private Institutions.

Several and different research projects are currently ongoing within the Packlab: modified atmosphere packaging of perishable foods, modeling and forecasting of foods shelf-life in flexible packaging, validation of new materials and techniques, light effects on sensitive foods and protective efficacy of packaging materials, active and intelligent packaging solutions, new or traditional bio-based materials development and functionalization. More details and results are presented in the section "Research projects" of this web site.