Of the many types of packaging, food packaging assumes an important place due its speciality, complexities, influence of culture, individual taste, government regulations, changing tastes and fierce competition. Food packaging is the enclosing of food to protect it from damage, contamination, spoilage, natural elements, and tampering during transport, storage and sale. The food packaging is printed with information such as contents, ingredients, nutrition content , shelf life and government regulations.
Functions of food packaging
Food packaging serves many important functions; some of the important ones are listed below.
This is the basic function. Material used in containing the food is made of paper, glass, metal or plastic. Natural materials like earthen ware, leaf etc are also used. The factors that determine the material of packaging are the safety, durability and environment issues.
The packaging must necessarily protect the food from biological agents, mechanical damage and degradation.
The packaging must communicate the food packed to the consumer, by the shape, size, printing etc. They should contain the expiry date, nutritional facts and cooking instructions.
These include not using environment friendly material and the material used to be recycled.
Today it is a well researched topic that the material used to pack the food does not contaminate it in any way. For example, metal, or coating on the plastic. Also the material should not react with the food contained in it.
The product should be accessible from the container. For instance, spouts for pouring liquid and zip seals for reuse.
It may be noted that food packaging is quite a complex matter calling for expertise, experience and commitment to deliver. Thomas, BD print and emballage alimentation Netpak are some of the reputed companies you would consider while looking for your food to be packaged.
Food Packaging types
Food packaging types can be Primary, Secondary or Tertiary. Primary is what enclosed the product or food packed, Tertiary is what packs the primary packaging together for transport and Tertiary is what is used by third party for shipping. Primary packaging can be cartons, rigid or flexible paper packaging, metal cans and boxes. For food, the packaging should be aseptic. Examples of secondary packing are corrugated boxes, trays and bags. Tertiary packaging consists of pellets, and wooden boxes.
Special techniques are used for packaging food. As oxygen in the air oxidises the food and makes it putrid, this is removed by either complete vacuum or partial vacuum. Alternatively, the air is replaced with an inert gas like Nitrogen.
Food packaging is a vast area and the further concerns are the choice of material, recycle, health issues, government regulations etc.