Packaging of cheeses has evolved from being used for protection and transportation of the product from the cheese shop or local dairy to homes into being a multifaceted task involving not only chemical, physical, microbiological, and sensory aspects but also issues such as marketing and sales, legislation, environmentally sound production schemes, and consumer-related parameters (e.g., openability and overall convenience). Convenience aspects and long distribution times have resulted in increased use of modified atmosphere packaged products, the application of active packaging concepts, and market introduction of products that are sliced, grated, cubed, or otherwise manufactured to provide easy-to-use consumer products. The introduction of new packaging concepts has to some extent been substantiated by research. However, the somewhat empirical pack-and-pray approach still dominates commercial usage of many aspects of cheese packaging technology.
This chapter briefly describes the major quality deteriorative processes in cheese and how these may actually be prevented or minimized by packaging. An overview of present cheese packaging concepts is included, and finally, future areas of research and development are pinpointed.
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