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What is food packaging and why it important for survival and development of food industry?

Food packaging is the most important part of the modern food industry and very few foods are sold unpacked. Good packaging prevents waste and attracts consumers both offline and online. The right types of packaging ensure the food retains its desired quality throughout its shelf life. Essentially, the packaging protects food from the environment, chemical, and physical agents, thus playing a crucial role in protecting the quality and safety of food items.

Food packaging is a process that starts after manufacturing the product and before delivery the same to wholesalers, retailers, or directly to consumers. Food package or packet is made from different materials such as paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and wood that is used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery, and presentation of goods from raw to processed products. Packaging is the art, science, and technology of preparing products for delivery in the market for consumers. In other words, package encloses food products to protect it from damage, contamination, spoilage, pest attacks, and tampering during transport, storage, dissemination, and retail sale. The package is often labeled with information such as the amount of the contents, ingredients, legal requirements, nutritional value, cooking instructions (if relevant), price, promotional scheme, and shelf life. It presentsmaterial shape, size, color, type, merchandising display units, etc.

Package communicates about the brand of the product through the pack persona created by the use of specific typography, symbols of the company, illustrations, advertising, and color, thereby creating visual impact, and when it works, instant recognition.

Therefore, a package needs to be designed and selected in such a manner that there are no adverse interactions between it and the food content. There are different types of packaging for the said purpose such as cardboard, foam, bags, PVC shrink film, Polyolefin Shrink Wrap, bottles, cans, cartons, and trays.

There are different packaging machines the food manufacturers use all over the world for packaging their food varieties made for the supply, for examples:

Why is food packaging important for the industry?

packaging machine

Packaging preserves food quality as well as attracts customers. Most customers are likely to judge the food quality from the package. While the primary role of food packaging is to contain a portion of food and protect its contents, here are some other key benefits:

1. Safe Containment

There are different types of food items that need a specific material based packaging, such as for granulated food items, paper-based packages are the best, with a sealing system to prevent infiltration of moisture into the product. Other food products are packaged using metal cans, plastic bags and bottles, and glass containers.

The other factor in containment is packaging durability because the packaged food has to survive transport from the food processing unit to the wholesaler to the supermarket to the home for consumer use.

Therefore, researchers must ensure that it is safe to use a specific packaging for a particular food item, and there are no adverse interactions between the package and the food content. For example, metal contamination issues from a can to the food product or any plastic contamination from a bottle to the food product.

2. Protection of Food Products

Packaging companies design a unique package that can be ideal for the type of food. Companies conduct a lot of research to get the best ideas for useful packages that can protect the product from chemical reactions, light, and dust. Improper food packaging affects the quality and taste of a product. Packaged foods must be free from contamination and support the shelf life of a food product so that no ill effects are reported regarding the consumers’ health.

Therefore packaging must protect the processed food from

  • biological agents such as rats, insects, and microbes;
  • mechanical damage such as product abrasion, compressive forces, and vibration; and
  • chemical degradation such as oxidation, moisture transfer, and ultraviolet rays of light.

3. Clear Communication

Packaging of a food product must communicate about the product’s use, mainly through label text and graphics. It can also be done by using special shapes for the food package, such as the Coca-Cola bottle or the can of Spam. Other well-known food package shapes that communicate about the product and the brand include potato chip bags and milk bottles. These packages also reflect detail nutritional information, and whether they are packaged according to kosher or halal specifications. The labelled text may also indicate whether it is safe to put the packaged food product like a TV dinner through a microwave process.

4. Safety of Food during Transportation

There are diverse types of food packaging used according to the types of food products, from cans, bags, and boxes to bottles. The food products are packed in these containers also taking into account the types of transport going to be used so that they remain safe during the entire journey of transportation from the packaging unit to the delivery point.

5. Influencing Consumer Purchasing Decision

The colors, design, and style of food packaging play an effective role in influencing the consumer’s buying decision. As the brain reacts to colors in different ways, so food manufacturers and suppliers always choose packaging colors according to design wisely. For example, orange packaging is used for energy and fun, making them ideal for sports drink and summer beverages. On the other hand, white color conveys simplicity and purity, making white package great for dairy products. Also, colors and flavors are matched to influence the consumers, like yellow for bananas and red for apple. Likewise, the text-fonts have also an important role to play. Therefore font of text writing makes sure they are readable to the target audience.

6. Making Company Brand Visible 

There are hundreds of food items of the same nature displayed on the shelves of supermarkets, shops, and online platforms. These food products capture customers’ attention when they search for a particular food item for consumption. Here effective packaging helps with this as it differentiates a brand from similar products on the same shelf.

Thus, food packaging also plays the role of a great marketing tool. From the label, logo to the shape of food’s packaging, a customer can remember the brand next time they come to the store. This way, packaging builds brand recognition.

7. Product Access

The packaging must be designed and made in such a shape and dimension that the product is readily accessible when the consumer is ready to use it. For example, pour spouts on milk cartons can make it easy to dispense the milk.

Why innovation in food packaging is so important?

snack packaging machine

Packaging plays a very important role in protecting, marketing, branding, and selling of any food product, whether it is children’s favorite chocolate or those free time snacks. Therefore it is important to use researched and innovative packaging to follow the latest trends of the market to stay competitive.

Packaging materials and designs for food products are continuously evolving to meet the demands of markets and consumers. Packaging trends keep changing, with custom food packaging taking a prime place in the relevant industry. Experimenting with new packaging options helps manufacturers to improve the quality of food, increase sales, and also helps to reduce both waste and costs.

The biological role of food packaging is to keep the product in top condition and keep it safe for consumption. It is also essential that the packaging helps to maintain the flavor, shape, and texture of a particular food product. So, innovative food packaging has been a big trend from 2017 through to 2020, especially, during COVID-19 which has benefited consumers because of the way food is preserved and the quality of the food is maintained.

When food is packaged professionally, customers will be eager to buy the product as they are convinced that the food packaged inside is in perfect condition. Packaged food is popular as it’s easy to open, close, and reuse. The best part is that packaged food is easy to carry, which helps in increasing sales and demand.

Innovative packaging works towards reducing waste and the costs of a food item as well. For example, a small design alteration, such as slimming down the neck of a salad dressing bottle or a sauce bottle can help in reducing the packaging material used. Likewise, lightweight packages can also help to reduce fuel costs. Thus, to make the food packaging innovative the following reliable and tested packaging machines that are being used in 30 countries of 5 continents can be approached for: “VFFS Packaging Machine with Multihead Weigher, VFFS Packaging Machine with Cup Filler,  VFFS Packaging Machine with Auger Filler, and VFFS Packaging Machine Servo Bagger.”

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