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Francesca Melini

Francesca Melini

Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Italy

Title: Tradition and innovation in packaging of cereals and cereal products


Biography: Francesca Melini


Cereals and cereal-based products are at the base of the Mediterranean diet, and hence play a pivotal role in the diet of many countries. Each year, tons of cereal products (e.g., breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, etc.) are marketed to increasingly sophisticated consumers that expect them to be delivered in a desired state.

This work aims at providing a comprehensive overview of the changes that occurred along the cereal chain in terms of packaging, with emphasis on the shift from tradition to innovation, and on the pros and cons thereof.

An overview of how cereal products used to be sold during the first half of last century is first briefly provided, and the advantages and disadvantages of bulk form marketing are discussed. Packaging, as a tool to maintain shelf-life, guarantee physical protection from biological, physical or chemical contamination, and bring information to consumers, is highlighted.

The tight relationship between packaging and labelling is also stressed. Over the last decades, packaging regularly hosts labels, so that consumers can be quickly and easily informed about food nutritional values (e.g., health claims, Recommended Dietary Allowance, etc.), food authenticity, in terms of ingredients (e.g., the Italian case of pasta for which ingredient requiements are laid down by law), and geographical origin. The role played by packaging design is also discussed, as a messenger of quality, tradition, dietary habits and scientific knowledge.

The case of artisanal bread and/or baked-products will be discussed.