The excessive dietary fat intake can result in health problems such as obesity and heart-related diseases, resulting in increased consumer demand for reduced fat foods. A number of food ingredients with fat-like functions have been developed as fat alternatives in the food industry. Especially, some fat replacers that belong to carbohydrate-based fat replacers, play multi-functional roles in foods beyond the reduction of fat and calories. They can provide beneficial physiological activity and control texture and rheology without quality loss. Also, they can promote the development of environment-friendly and natural products, make health claims on a label, and diversify the type of reduced-fat foods. Therefore, the use of multi-functional fat replacers can encourage the food industry to respond to current demand of health-conscious consumers for reduced-fat foods.
Research and development efforts were in the last decades mainly dedicated to the huge development of convenient versatile petrochemical plastics, related additives, recycling processes etc. Future packaging will have to respond to the evolution of societal needs and concerns in term of health, quality, environment, cost, sustainability, worldwide raw materials availability, information etc. The present paper will focus on reasonable hypothesis on food packaging technologies development scenarios. It could be anticipated that concepts such as eco-friendly, biodegradable, active and nano-engineered materials will develop. Some examples will be briefly presented and discussed by focusing on subsequent research lines of thinking likely to facilitate the use of biopolymer for food packaging. Controlling mass transfer between the food, the food contact material (FCM) and the external atmosphere is the major key factor for the development for these new packaging solutions when considering adequacy to foods requirements and safety rules. The mass transfer control can be achieved by adjusting the FCM matrix nature and structure at different scales (macro/micro/nano). The knowledge and modeling of solute, gas, vapor and nanoparticles transfer in the packaging material can facilitate the development of efficient packaging. This approach was performed to develop different packaging food systems such as modified atmosphere packaging based on gas selective bio-materials, antimicrobial bio-packaging based on controlled release of volatile active molecules or nanocomposites packaging combined with high pressure food treatments.