Types of Food Packaging

Food products are the items that play an important role and hence are an integral part of our daily life. Food that we consume should be fresh and safe and the packaging used directly affects its safety, freshness and overall shelf life. Food is more susceptible to damage than any other item in the world. Food manufacturers are bound to take utmost care of their products after production until the time they are sold, because even the smallest mistake can lead to a huge financial loss as well as wastage of time and labor. When the food items are produced, the most important thing to be done is its packing. The packing depends on various factors like the type of food item, the process of production, the quality of the food, etc. Since there are different types of food products, there are also different ways of packing them. The following part of the article will throw light on the types of food packaging.

Materials Used for Food Packaging Containers

Plastic, glass, metal, aluminum and cardboard are the common types of materials used for making the packaging containers. We will look at each type of food packaging that makes use of these materials to store food.

Glass
It is used to make glass jars and bottles and is mostly used for storing liquids and sauces. The lid of the jar or the bottle’s cap keep the food product fresh, and the packed food does not require refrigeration before the first opening. These containers are breakable but if handled with proper care, can protect the food for a long time. They are the best refrigerator storage devices for leftover food. Another advantage of a glass jar is that the consumer can see the product inside if the glass is transparent, but sometimes it is invisible because the container is colored dark in order to prevent exposure to light.

Aluminum
We all are aware about the use of aluminum foil for keeping food warm and fresh. The best thing about aluminum containers is that they are inexpensive and made out of recycled materials. But if steel is the main component in aluminum cans, it cannot be easily recycled. Aluminum is also reusable. It can protect beverages like juices, beer and soft drinks for longer periods. It is cheaper and hence convenient to use for packaging large quantities of food.

Plastic
It is one of the most common materials used for packaging and comes in a wide variety of containers, wraps, buckets, bags, etc. Buckets are useful in storing items in bulk like wheat, cereals, sugar, rice, etc. Plastic wrap is a thin film with a sticky tape used to seal containers after putting the product inside it. Plastic food pouches have become very popular nowadays because they are lightweight, small to fit in the pocket and reusable. Plastic bags are also very useful as they increase the shelf life and maintain the freshness of the product. A technology called Modified Atmosphere Conditions (MAP) allows control over atmospheric conditions inside the bag resulting in slower deterioration. Items that are extremely moisture free can be stored in plastic bags for long without adopting the above technology. However, there is a problem with storing food products in plastic containers. These containers or buckets do not have the capacity to stop the entry of oxygen into the container. There is a slow transmission of oxygen through the polyethylene walls into the container. To fix this, you can use oxygen barrier bags made out of plastic or metal to increase the shelf life of the product.

Metal
Metal cans or containers are commonly used to store items like vegetables and fruits as they have an airtight seal and can preserve these items for a considerable amount of time. It is advisable to make use of plastic or metal wraps to seal containers like plastic bags to block oxygen transmission. Metal cans have an inner coating to prevent the food from reacting with the metal and getting contaminated while the heating process is on.

Paper and Cardboard
Tubes and cans are made out of cardboard to store snacks, spices, nuts, etc. These containers are environmentally friendly, as they are made from wood pulp. Dried food products can be stored in them for a long time maintaining its original condition. Paper is also used to make lightweight cartons and bags and sometimes, is used a colorful outer cover for products packed in plastic or metal containers.

Another type of food packaging is clamshell packaging which is also one of the most useful ones. Henceforth, do not let your food products get damaged only because of unawareness or incomplete knowledge about its packaging. Make use of the above food packagings, which you can utilize according to the need of your food product.