Parma Ham and custom go hand in hand. Its distinctive style is due to an extended, painstaking and centuries-old manufacturing course of that’s topic to rigorous high quality management at each stage to make sure traceability and provenance.
However producers are actually involved that the present packaging of the dry-cured ham – a multi-layer movie primarily based on conventional plastic supplies – is at odds with at this time’s traits of environmental sustainability and round financial system.
The Parma Ham Consortium, which represents 140 producers who use and safeguard the standard processing technique, has carried out in-depth analysis to check various and extra sustainable supplies than these historically used for packaging pre-sliced ham.
“Parma Ham has all the time performed a elementary function for the social and financial resilience of the province of Parma. This function should additionally embrace the environmental side,” stated Consortium President Alessandro Utini. As producers of a meals with a protected designation of origin, the Consortium is “united by an inseparable bond with our territory of origin”, he added. The Consortium should due to this fact “spend money on analysis to scale back the environmental impression of our manufacturing actions.”
Collaborating with the Experimental Station for the Parma Meals Conservation Trade (SSICA), the group has carried out shelf-life assessments on packaging from a number of sources and with completely different recycling strategies, equivalent to paper, recyclable PET and compostable bioplastics.
The chosen supplies had been mixed in several types of packaging and used for packaging trials in a protecting ambiance with Parma Hams from completely different producers and maturation intervals, starting from 16 to twenty months.
On the finish of the monitoring interval, the packs underwent chemical-physical, sensory and microbiological analyses with “extraordinarily vital outcomes”, stated Utini.
“Packs consisting of [a] paper tray and paper prime with or with out [a] clear window, yielded even higher preservation efficiency than conventional supplies, additionally by way of sturdiness. Paper is due to this fact a superb resolution for the packaging of our pre-packed merchandise, due to its recyclability, ease of reuse and origin from a renewable supply.”
Different supplies examined didn’t disappoint both: the PET tray, had a shorter shelf-life than paper, however proved appropriate on the market in clear packaging. The compostable bioplastic-based packages additionally meant a shorter shelf-life however had been discovered to appropriate with a takeaway format.
The transfer to strengthen the environmental sustainability and round financial system of Parma Ham comes admid sturdy gross sales boosted by the pandemic. 2021 was a document 12 months for gross sales when 72 million trays had been exported from Italy, a rise of three% in comparison with the earlier 12 months. In 2022 greater than 90 million packs had been offered world wide a determine nicely above that of 2019.
“The analysis has efficiently recognized legitimate alternate options to conventional packaging and has supplied manufacturing and packaging corporations with vital instruments to assist their already substantial dedication to sustainability,” stated Utini. The transition to various and extra sustainable supplies, would require “dedication and time to be absolutely carried out”, however is each “fascinating” and “lastly potential”, he added.
“The analysis is now obtainable to all our members, who can determine on its implementation,” a Consortium spokesperson informed FoodNavigator. “We would not have exact timing concerning this step however we hope that in an affordable time the choice and extra sustainable supplies studied by the Consortium can considerably exchange the standard ones presently used.”