Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions are running high, and ordinary tasks and activities are being thoroughly inspected under a microscope. The food and beverage industry has been under scrutiny to ensure that the food being served is safe for consumption. The food packaging company, in particular, has had to re-evaluate itself to keep up with the times to ensure that meals are delivered sustainably and efficiently.
Here is everything that you need to know about food packaging to make an informed choice.
Why is food packaging important?
There is a reason why most food is packaged in the box-in-the-bag method, whereas soda, juices, and other beverages come in an aluminium can. It is so that the food is well protected and retains its original form. From the point of being packaged to the point of being delivered or bought, food tends to pass through several hands. Whether in handling, distribution, or transport, the food needs to be protected and kept safe and delicious for consumption.
Food packaging ensures protection from contamination and eliminates the possibility of any harm to the recipient. Restaurants and food manufacturers could have their finances and reputations crippled by an expensive and public lawsuit claiming negligence, so is best for them to ensure that the food is packaged correctly and isn’t contaminated at any point in the supply chain before it is delivered safely to their customers.
No one likes to have their ice-cream melting into a viscous puddle, or their milkshake lukewarm, or their fish-and-chips cold. Food packaging ensures that the temperature of the food is regulated. A significant factor in food packaging is ensuring that the food retains its appearance, taste, quality, and freshness. This allows customers to enjoy their meal at their leisure, whenever that might be.
Different Materials Used in Food Packaging
Depending on the dish and its temperature, food is packaged differently:
Styrofoam, though non-biodegradable, helps control and maintain food temperature for both hot and cold dishes effectively.
This is the most common material used in food packaging to ensure that there are no leakages and the food is easily transportable. However, specific plastic polymers have been reported to leach toxins into the food, making it unsafe for consumption.
Most commonly used to package pizzas and other solid, hot food, cardboard helps regulate and insulate the heat. However, cardboard is an unwise choice for the packaging of wet or runny food as the material will not be durable enough to withstand moisture.
Jars and containers made of bagasse, a by-product of sugarcane processing, is a sustainable alternative to the traditional options for food packaging. They are durable and oven-friendly; however, they are rather costly.
Glass is used primarily for beverages or for food items that are to be consumed cold.
Trends in Food Packaging
As awareness grows amongst consumers, non-biodegradable packaging methods have had to be re-evaluated. It isn’t just the origin and the sustainability of the food itself that is important to consumers but the packaging as well.
A promising trend in food packaging is the reduction of haphazard designs and unnecessary materials. Consumers are attracted to products that are elegantly packaged. Food, one of the simplest and most profound pleasures in life, is now being packaged with that in mind.
This type of packaging has the additional benefits of being environmentally friendly and cost-effective for manufacturers.
Whether it is the watering hole across the street where the barman knows your name and your favourite drinks, or the restaurant where the staff remembers that you are allergic to shellfish, everyone revisits the places that make them feel unique, and above all, seen and heard.
One of the emerging trends in food packaging is the personalisation of the product. Sometimes it is a simple note that says, “Made with love”, or a much needed “Stay Safe”. Sometimes it is a monogrammed, pre-named can of soda. This has helped many foods and beverages manufacturers build brand loyalty and access word-of-mouth marketing that has propelled them to greater heights.
One of the primary reasons that packaged food is bought is simple convenience. CLS Packaging offers the comfort of a healthy meal without the hassle of cooking or cleaning. A significant trend in food packaging is the use of easy-to-carry, lightweight, and most importantly, resealable packaging. This allows the consumers to eat at leisure and conveniently store the food for later if need be.
The way a food item or beverage is packaged is a key identifier for the brand, reflecting not just its aesthetics, but also its values. It is both an extension and a representation of the brand’s , identity and core beliefs. If a brand boasts of organically sourced products and then packages them in a manner that is detrimental to the environment, something isn’t quite right.