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A Guide on the Basics of Food Packaging

Basics of Food Packaging

For any food business, there’s one important element that cannot be overlooked: packaging. Along with ensuring food is kept safe and hygienic, packaging acts as a promotional tool. With the right design, shape, or graphics, this can be enough to catch the eye and convince potential customers to sample a brand’s products. The continued push for sustainability also means there is a greater emphasis on creating packaging that is recyclable or compostable.

This guide will look over the main points behind food packaging and what is considered before it ever reaches the consumer.

The use of polymer plastics 

Polymer plastics have become the standard for food packaging production. There are a few reasons why this is the case. They assist in preventing contamination and keeping food products fresh. Another important point, particularly in this day and age, is that polymer plastics are recyclable. The flexibility of polymer also can’t be understated. Rigid or flexible, opaque or transparent, films or containers – there are many different ways plastic can be manipulated for packaging purposes. This is yet another reason why polymer plastics, in some form or other, are used for storing, protecting, or promoting most food products.

This is why manufacturers will turn to companies like Poly Chemistry to get industry-leading polymers for their food packaging. Using up-to-date materials can ensure that they get the packaging perfect for their products. This allows businesses to produce high-quality packaging that meets green initiatives, keeps food safe, and looks aesthetically pleasing.

Other packaging materials 

Plastic isn’t the only material used with food packaging. There are also other common materials that are either used in combination with plastic or separately. These include:

  • Paper and paperboard
  • Metals
  • Glass

The material used is ultimately dependent on the purpose behind the packaging. For instance, metals are beneficial for carrying both liquid and solid food products. Similarly, glass bottles are great for liquid food items. Paper and paperboard are common solutions, like plastic, as it is an effective and versatile material that can be used for everything from packing rice to fresh sandwiches.

The finishing touches

When a food product is being sold on store shelves, there’s only so much work it can do on its own from a marketing perspective. This is why food packaging typically incorporates optical properties. Transparent packaging, for example, allows consumers to view the food product and judge it based on its appearance. However, manufacturers usually won’t stop there. They will also utilize brand-specific colors and vibrant graphics to further grab the attention of customers.

Mandatory requirements

There are specific requirements that all food packaging must fulfill. Violations of these requirements can lead to legal repercussions, so it’s important you know exactly what rules are set out by the FDA and local jurisdictions. Along with the packaging itself being up to the necessary standards, it also has to display specific information. This information includes:

  • The name of the food product
  • Net quantity
  • Manufacturer, distributor, and/or packer information (name and address)
  • Nutritional details, including fats, carbs, and proteins
  • A list of ingredients
  • Allergens that are present in the product
  • Best before date

Businesses can face legal prosecutions and fines if this information is not included on their food packaging.

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