Master of Science in Sustainable Food Packaging

A world without food packaging is unthinkable. It offers numerous advantages in terms of hygiene, food safety, transport, reduction of food waste, etc. However, the current impact of certain materials and uses on the environment is too big and unsustainable. Ghent University therefore wants to stimulate a switch towards 100% reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging, and prepare students to become experts in sustainable food packaging systems.

Subsequent Master's Programme
1 year 60 credits
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
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About the programme
Programme summary
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After graduation


Food packaging is omnipresent in our daily lives, making it possible to better protect food and reduce food waste. However, in the past decade, the packaging industry has experienced strong growth, with some notable evolutions: the increased use of plastics to replace other substrates (partly to serve the end user better), and a strong economic growth in emerging countries. Together with the use of single-use packaging, it causes a substantial environmental impact, and makes the management of packaging waste extremely challenging in terms of recyclability. Consumers and governments are therefore increasingly demanding sustainable packaging, driving companies towards more socially responsible packaging strategies.

At the same time, the food industry has also undergone a number of evolutions: an increasing attention to reducing additives in food, less intensive processes such as mild pasteurisation processes instead of sterilisation processes, etc. These evolutions result in higher quality food with better retention of nutrients and sensory properties, but put pressure on the microbiological and chemical stability. In order to guarantee the required shelf life, a suitable packaging system must be used, both in terms of the type of packaging materials and machines, and in terms of the environmental conditions in which the filling takes place. Such a packaging system must be developed or selected specifically on the basis of the characteristics of the food to be packaged, the storage conditions during distribution, and storage further down the food chain.

The Master of Science in Sustainable Food Packaging brings the three domains together and addresses the question of how we can keep food safe and preserve it for the required shelf-life using food packaging systems that are sustainable and balance the ecological footprint with ensuring access to high quality food and maintaining profitable food supply chains. This question is part of the larger (international) challenge to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by improving environmental and societal sustainability and increasing the circularity in food packaging systems.

For whom

The admission requirements depend on your prior education (type of degree, country of issue etc.) or additional experience.


The Master Science in Sustainable Food Packaging is divided in five modules, allowing you to spread the programme over several years and study part-time. Together with online teaching activities and evening classes, it offers you maximum flexibility to combine the programme with a career or family. A master’s dissertation and internship at an external organisation adds to the hands-on character of the programme.

For more information about the different modules, please visit

Labour Market

The interdisciplinary character of the programme ensures that you are well prepared to pursue a career in a field related to Sustainability, Food and/or Packaging. Ample (international) job opportunities exist for Sustainable Food Packaging experts, situated in sectors such as the food industry, packaging industry, packaging machines producing industry, gas supplying industry, retail, the waste and recycling industry, government agencies and NGOs. You will be qualified to fill technical-, research- policy- and management-oriented positions.