Updated for 2019.
Food packaging is a crucial element of the safety and protection of food during its shelf life. There are many options out there for business to ensure that your product is protected against environmental factors, chemical, biological and physical changes. In this guide, we cover some of our top food packaging solutions, and explain why choosing the right one for your products is vital to success.
Why is Food Packaging so Important?
Packaging materials and designs for food products are regularly evolving to meet the demands of customers. 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, to increase sales and also helps to reduce both waste and costs.
The leading 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 flavour, shape and texture of the product. Innovative food packaging has been a big trend from 2017 through to 2019, which has benefited consumers because of the way food is now preserved and how 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. Research has revealed that custom food packaging design helps to enhance the shelf life of products and has a high impact on product sales. Consumer buying decisions are primarily affected by the package design, colour, the message conveyed, and the information on the label. It’s important to remember that convenience also plays a significant role in increasing product sales. 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.
Great food packaging works towards reducing waste and costs as well. 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 produced. Lightweight packages can also help to reduce fuel costs.
What are the Best Food Packaging Solutions?
Cardboard boxes are a fantastic packaging material. They have been in use since 1817 for packaging since cardboard was cheap to make and easier to handle than wooden crates. Today, cardboard boxes were made out of corrugated fiberboard or cartonboard. Cardboard nowadays is more expensive than alternatives like plastics, particularly so as you typically want to use foam or bubble wrap or other packaging materials for added protection. However, the ease with which you can print designs on cardboard makes it popular as a medium for marketing your product.
Most popular for cans like soft drinks or tinned goods like animal food, aluminium is a popular packaging material for products that need a very long shelf life and need to survive being thrown about a lot. Aluminium has a very high cost to produce and use as a packaging solution, so we recommend thinking carefully before using it. However, for businesses which decide upon using aluminium, they can use recycled metal to reduce their costs as well as their environmental footprint.
Foam, while not common as a standalone packaging material, is used in conjunction with shrink wrap or cardboard in a variety of household items including furniture, glass, TV, windows, and more. Anything with a sharp edge that can rip a hole in cardboard or plastic needs extra padded protection, so foam is commonly the material of choice. If your item is particularly sharp or likely to cause accidents, using foam in conjunction with other materials is a wise decision.
PVC Shrink Film
PVC Shrink film, or polyvinyl chloride shrink film, is the third most produced plastic in the world, behind polyethylene and polypropylene. It was the most commonly used shrink wrap in the world, too, until the early 2010s when polyolefin shrink wrap became more popular and cheaper to manufacture. PVC is incredibly strong and durable, making it very popular as a shrink wrap material. However, the plasticiser in PVC shrink film hardens when cold and softens when hot, which can damage the seal over that which you’re wrapping. Additionally, PVC shrink wrap releases hydrogen chloride gas into the air and carbon deposits onto the sealer, which can be deadly to both your staff and your property. This means care must be taken when wrapping a large number of goods at once, and also that certain products like medicine or exposed food cannot be bound in PVC.
Polyolefin Shrink Wrap
Today, manufacturers and suppliers use a number of automatic packaging machines, including the use of polyolefin shrink wrap. Consumers should also always check that food, when purchased, is well packaged and sealed, to ensure that the health and safety of the product have not been compromised. Plastic is the most common form of wrapping products today, both for transportation and product presentation. We’ve written before about the benefits of using shrink wrap, but it’s worth briefly stating them again: it is cheap, effective, durable, flexible, and almost any kind of business can benefit from shrink wrap in their supply line.
There are many differences between PVC and polyolefin shrink wrap. We’ve discussed some of them in our past article before. Polyolefin’s main advantage is its cross-linked nature: the interlinking of polyethylene and polypropylene in the molecular makeup of the material means it is extremely resistant to tearing and has high tensile strength. It also means that it can be more easily wrapped around irregular shapes than cardboard, aluminium, or other packaging materials.
If you believe that PVC or polyolefin shrink wrap could benefit your product or business, why not get in touch with us today? We can help you find the perfect solution for your company or product. Leave us a message in our contact form on the side, and we will email or call you as soon as possible.