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What are the Different Types of Food Packaging Materials?

10/8/2013 4:28:32 PM | by Anonymous

Food Packaging Materials

Food packaging has started since the early days using shells, leaves and gourds. In the later part, containers were fashioned from the nature materials such as woven, animal organs and hollowed logs. When the metals and ores were discovered, pottery and metals were developed and leading to other packaging forms.

 

Food packaging requires tempering resistance, protection and chemical, special physical or biological needs. This shows that the products are labeled to show the nutrition information on the food being consumed. The food packaging materials may include paper, metals, cardboard, plastic, glass and Styrofoam for different types of food products and conditions.

 

The most suitable packaging can depend on the application as different products have drawbacks and advantages. Some provide a high degree of insulation and protection to limit bruising and compression as well as may not allow people to see the food while others provide high visibility but minimal protection. The designers need to think about several different issues when selecting materials such as keeping the food safe and the individual packages may be stacked or loaded into larger cartons and pallets for protection. When the food arrives at a destination, the packaging must be showy to catch the eye of consumers while still offering protection. They often have new products in development which include products with features such as temperature sensors to alert consumers the fact that food has been stored in unsafe temperatures. Companies that seek new packaging for their products may request samples from various manufacturers to learn more about what is available or may have environmental concerns and might look for recycled food packaging materials.

 

For fresh foods like meats, it is common to see food packaging materials like baskets and trays made from Styrofoam, cardboard, or plastic. These will allow the food to sit in a solid base that may be covered with rigid or flexible transparent plastic for visibility to allow consumers to inspect the food before purchase. Other foods may be packed in flexible food packaging materials to make them easier to handle and flexible packaging can also be useful for frozen foods ranging from peas to tortellini.

 

As for aseptic food packaging, they are available for products like sterilized milks, canned food and soups. This packaging can come in the form of a jar or can and may be a lined cardboard carton designed to be shelf stable. However, the food inside might not be visible as the packaging needs to protect the food from the light. Some other stabilized forms are cartons that are used for orange juice, milk and other fluids that may be sold fresh.

 

For dry goods, cardboard and plastic cartons are very common while preparing foods like dried shrimps and scallops as they may require plastic or glass containers. These food packaging materials can keep the food safe until for use and may provide an opportunity to see the food through clear packaging materials. However, fresh foods like meats and seafood are sold from a counter and may be packaged in wax wrappers and paper.

 

Another form of food packaging materials is aluminium. Aluminum is the most common, inexpensive, easy to manufacture and environmental friendly because they are made of recycled materials and can be recycled again. This type of material is perfect for storing canned goods, fish and potted meat as an inner liner for bags or covers for foods that are stored in plastic trays.

 

Polyethylene is a low density polyethylene that is heat sealable, odor free and shrinks when heated. They have a good moisture barrier however they also have high gas permeability and sensitivity to oil. This material is less expensive than most food packaging materials therefore they are widely used. The high-density of polyethylene is usually thicker, stronger, more brittle and less flexible than the low density polyethylene as they have lower permeability for moisture and gases. They are also chemically resistant and waterproof.

 

The wooden food packaging materials are used for shipping a wide range of solid and liquid foods which include vegetables, fruits, beer and tea. This material offers a good stacking, mechanical protection and has a high-weight to strength ratio. The use of wood is still used for wines and spirits because the transfer of flavor compounds from the wooden barrels can improve the quality of the product. An advantage for using wooden food packaging material is because they can hold foods together and protect them from crushing.

 

Some other traditional methods of food packaging are still in use these days such as leaves and earthenware. Leaves are from the plantain or banana leaves. They are the most common and widespread leaves used for wrapping foods such as nasi-lemak and certain kinds of cheese or used for wrapping spices. They are an excellent solution for products that are quickly consumed and they are always readily available and cheap.

 

Earthenware is also commonly used in worldwide for storage of solid food and liquids such as yoghurt, beer and honey. They are made of wooden lids, leaves, plastic sheets, corks and other combinations of materials to seal the pots. The unglazed earthenware is very suitable for products that need cooling such as curd whereas glazed pots are for storing liquids such as honey, wine and oil as they are airtight and moisture proof if they are properly sealed.

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