You might be a food manufacturer researching innovative and environmentally-friendly options to package your offerings. Or, perhaps a chef looking to crack into the frozen food distribution market with your delicious recipes — regardless of what your aim is, your #1 priority should be to ensure food safety.
This essentially means utilizing protective materials and processes to guard food contents against contaminants, spoilage, damage, etc. Plus, there are a range of other factors to consider: shipping costs, sustainability, efficacy, and so on.
Depending on the type and nature of the food or beverage you plan to package and distribute, you will need an ideal food packaging material (or a combination of materials) to foolproof your packaging strategy.
Just as well, we’ve curated a comprehensive list of food packaging materials available in the market today to help you out. Here we go!
1. Ascetic Packaging
Primarily used to package processed foods (liquid eggs, drinkable items) that must stay sterile—and hence require a long-term preservation solution—aseptic packaging is made out of paper and aluminum and layered with polyethylene.
Chips and pretzels are bagged in plastic materials to prevent the air from coming in contact with the food; they make transporting food products highly effective. They are heat sealed at the seams or stitched/bonded with adhesives to cut contact with the environment. Other items that are packaged using bags are fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, processed foods, etc.
3. Glass Packaging
Glass has been known to extend shelf life and prevent spoilage of food products for over a hundred years now. From glass bottles, jars, containers, to glass lids and stoppers, glass is an industry leader when it comes to the storage and packaging of foods and beverages.
Glass is transparent, recyclable, sustainable, safe, and preserves the flavor and freshness of food items. It remains unaffected by external environmental factors like heat and cold.
It should be noted that there are downsides to glass packaging as well:
- It has a high carbon footprint
- It’s susceptible to breakage
- It’s heavy and rigid, which translates to higher shipping costs
Among the most common foods and beverages that are packaged using glass are alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, syrups, jams & jellies, sauces, fermented products, and so on.
Boxes are among the most damage-resistant and long-lasting packaging types. From folding paperboard boxes you see at retail stores and restaurants to corrugated fiberboard boxes used to store cereal or frozen foods and rigid boxes to transport fruits and vegetables — different types of boxes serve a variety of purposes in F&B packaging. Boxes can also be made of wood or metal to enhance their durability.
Cans made out of steel/metal are another common and effective type of food packaging. Cans are lightly coated with tin to avoid erosion and prevent light from entering the opaque, airtight container.
The fact that cans are 100% recyclable, economical, and exhibit greater shatter resistance makes it an ideal option for packaging foods and beverages.
From fruits and vegetables to gravies, sauces, soups, dairy and fermented products, a wide range of food products are preserved by canning.
Meats like fish, tuna, pork, beef are stored in tin cans while beverages like beer, energy drinks, soda, etc are packaged in aluminum cans.
However, they have a higher carbon footprint when compared to alternate materials.
6. Flexible Pouches
Flexible or non-rigid packaging in the F&B industry is one of the fastest-growing markets today; they can take on any shape, they are versatile in usage, and have a significantly lower carbon footprint—making it environment-friendly and one of the most favored packaging materials among manufacturers and consumers.
Some of the most common food items that are packaged using stand-up pouches are dry goods like cereals, grains, nuts, and liquids like dairy products, water, etc.
There are a host of other advantages of using flexible pouches:
- They are light and take up significantly less space, which translates to lower shipping costs
- They increase shelf life
- They are relatively cheaper than alternate packaging materials like glass, metal, plastic, etc
- With flexible pouches, it’s possible to peek at the food item you are buying (if they are transparent) or touch and feel the texture of the food.
Did you know the global flexible packaging market is sitting on a whopping USD 53.7 billion and is expected to reach USD 73.5 billion by 2026? Go figure!
Cartons are basically corrugated cardboard boxes with a coating of plastic or paraffin that serves two purposes: one, to increase resistance against moisture; and two, design and printing.
You’ll find a vast selection of cartons, aseptic, folding, and gable-top cartons to store liquid drinks, cereal boxes, juice cans, eggs, and fresh pizza.
Cartons are best for transportation purposes since they don’t just ensure safety but are also highly cost-effective.
Choosing the ideal packaging material for your food products requires close consideration of safety, sustainability, and shelf-life to keep up with the food and beverages trends in Asia. Other boxes you want to tick include design, ease of use, and costs incurred in shipping and distribution.
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