Fifth-range foods in biodegradable packaging

The UPV/EHU’s Biomat group is assessing Xumuxua as part of the development of solutions to tackle the growing demand for more sustainable receptacles

  • Research

First publication date: 05/12/2019

Pedro Guerrero (Biomat) and Iñigo Otamendi (Xumuxua). Photo: Nagore Iraola. UPV/EHU

Adherence to innovation, sustainability and the environment has prompted the Xumuxua brand to commit itself to the use of more sustainable packaging. Its R&D team, together with the Biomat research group of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, has assessed various materials and packaging types to select the most suitable, while safeguarding food safety, product freshness and quality. In addition, innovation in packaging design involving the modification of moulds used to seal trays has enabled costs to be optimised. This collaboration has enabled Yon Mikel Janariak, marketed under the Xumuxua brand, to present its line of fifth-range products in biodegradable packaging.

Fifth-range products are quality foodstuffs prepared in advance, they are available at an affordable price and enable time spent in the kitchen to be reduced. Right now, these products are distributed in packaging manufactured from petrochemical-based plastics.  However, the general public’s growing concern for the environment is driving the need for more sustainable, safe packaging. In this context, the aim set out by Xumuxua is to use biodegradable receptacles to address the social demand for more sustainable packaging with the same safeguards in terms of food safety. So it has had the scientific advice of the UPV/EHU’s Biomat group which has vast experience in biodegradable materials.

The work of the Biomat group has focussed on scientific and technical advice about biodegradable materials with particular emphasis on barrier properties that need to be fulfilled by the receptacle to ensure the quality of the packaged food. At the same time, one of the challenges of the research work carried out has been how to optimize the processing parameters so that an airtight seal that exceeds the conditions required for fifth-range products can be achieved. The market launch of these products constitutes a further step in the strategy of circular food.

Further information

Xumuxua has been committing itself to quality food right from its beginnings, producing its recipes without using any kind of preservative. The value of its product lies in the use of quality raw material, which is only the first step in the chain of strictly controlled processes, since the production of fifth-range products calls for highly demanding production processes which, together with effective packaging systems, ensure not only their safety but also the original texture and organoleptic qualities of the food.

The Biomat group is an A research group in the Basque university system that carries out its activities at the UPV/EHU’s Faculty of Engineering – Gipuzkoa. One of its lines of research focusses on the upgrading of bio-waste to manufacture active, sustainable packaging.