This chapter connects the main requirements of meat product preservation with the most used plastic packaging structures, highlighting the role of packaging on the extension of food products shelf life and allowing their distribution and consumption in the most diverse areas of the world. An overview on the main degradation mechanisms of meat products is provided as background for the deeper discussions on flexible packaging films’ compositions that is most used for meat packaging. Details on the performance of different sealing materials, gas barrier layers, and structural compositions as well as specific characteristics of packaging such as vacuum bags, shrink barrier bags, thermoforming, vacuum skin, and modified atmosphere packaging are discussed in this chapter serving as building blocks for an optimum packaging design, from food preservation to the final packaging end use. Finally, as part of an evolving world, new packaging trends are discussed, covering consumerism, sustainability, and functionality aspects.
Part of the book: Food Processing