Food packaging draws on disciplines like chemistry, microbiology, food science and engineering. About 25% of the ex-factory cost is for packaging and thus provides the challenge for food packaging technologists to design and develop functional packages at low cost.
Today packaging is pervasive and essential. It surrounds, enhances and protects the goods from processing and manufacturing through handing and storage to final consumption without packing, materials would be messy and modern consumer marketing would not be possible.
The inter disciplinary nature of food packaging needs to be understood for some it is best but for most it is waste of resources and environmental menace. Packaging is an industrial and marketing technique for airing, protecting, identifying and facilitating the sale and distribution of agricultural, industrial and consumer products.
The Packaging Institute International defines packaging as the enclosure of products items or packages in a wrapped pouch, big-box, cup, tray, can, tube, bottle or other container to protect & preserve.
UK Institute of packaging defines packaging as
1.A coordinated system of preparing foods for transport, distribution, storage, retailing and end use. 2.A means of ensuring safe delivery to the ultimate consumer in sound condition at minimum cost. 3.A techno-economic function aimed at minimizing costs of delivery while maximinsing sales (and hence profits) Primary packaging is one which is in direct contact with contained product. It provides the initial and usually the major protective barrier e.g. metal cans, plastic pouches, glass bottles. Secondary contains a no. of primary packages e.g. a corrugated case. It is the physical distribution carrier. Terliary package is made up of number of secondary packages, e.g. stretch wrapped pallet. Change of food packaging materials:
Food packaging materials play a primary role in protecting the contents from ultra violet rays, germs in air, shocks during transportation etc. while they turn into waste after consumption of non-industrial waste which comprises primilary of household garbage, waste packaging materials account for 60% of total volume and 20 – 30 % of total weight. They need to be collected and treated separately as they are usually made of several materials, a factor that makes the recycling of packaging material rather difficult.
Companies for this reason changed the packaging materials for frozen foods in 2002, composite materials (nylon or aluminized polypropylene) to polypropylene. New packaging materials, when incinerated produce less CO2 and hazardous gases. Food companies provide products which are eco-friendly.
Recycle plaza JB (located in Japan) treats 64 tonnes of used container a day. Paying attention to the environment as critical theme that should be addressed to not only by the companies but also each individual. Everyday our lives are touched by plastic packaging products. PET (Polyethylene Terphthalate) Used in beverage containers, food containers, boil in food pouches processed meat packages etc. It is popular for making bottles for cokes & fizzy drinks as PET is more impermeable than other low cost plastics. HDPE (High density polyethylene)
HDPE (High density polyethylene) is used in milk bottles, cereal box liners, detergent bottles, oil bottles, margarine tubs, toys, plastic bags etc. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) used in food wrap, vegetable oil bottles and blister packaging. LDPE (Low density polyethylene) used in shrink wrap, plastic bags, garment bags, dry cleaning bags and squeezable food bottles. PP (Polypropylene) used in margarine and yogurt containers, cops for containers, wrapping to replace cellophone, medicine bottles etc. PS (Polystrene) used in egg, fast food trays disposable plastic silver ware, cups, compact disc jackets. Plastics in the Environment:
There is a growing awareness of the health and environmental consequences of food packaging,...