Types of food packaging materials?

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Food packaging materials include metals, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, Styrofoam, and wood. The most suitable packaging depends on the product type and conditions. Designers consider safety during transport and eye-catching appearance for consumers. Different materials are used for fresh, frozen, aseptic, dry, and prepared foods. New packaging products with features such as temperature sensors are in development, and some companies prioritize environmental concerns.

Food packaging materials can include metals, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, Styrofoam and wood, for a variety of food product types and conditions. The most suitable packaging may depend on the application, as different products have advantages and disadvantages. Some provide a high degree of insulation and protection to limit bruising and compression, but may not allow people to see the food. Others provide high visibility but minimal protection.

Food packaging designers have to think about several issues when selecting materials. In initial transport, the primary concern is keeping the food safe and individual parcels can be stacked or loaded into larger cartons and pallets to protect them. Once the food arrives at its destination, the packaging needs to be eye-catching to grab consumers’ attention while still offering protection.

For fresh foods such as produce and meat, it is common to see food packaging materials such as trays and baskets made from Styrofoam, wood, cardboard or plastic. These allow the food to sit on a solid base which can be covered with rigid or flexible clear plastic for visibility, to allow consumers to inspect the food before purchasing. Other foods can be bagged in flexible food packaging materials to make them easier to handle. Flexible packaging can also be useful for frozen foods ranging from peas to tortellini.

Aseptic food packaging is available for products such as canned foods, sterilized milks and soups. This packaging can be in the form of a can or jar, or it can be a lined cardboard box designed to be shelf stable. The food inside is not visible, as the packaging must protect it from light. Cartons are also used for milk, orange juice and other liquids which can be sold both fresh and stabilized.

For dry goods, cardboard and sometimes plastic cartons may be common, while prepared foods such as salsa and hummus may require plastic or glass containers. These food packaging materials keep food safe until used and can provide an opportunity to view the food through a viewing window or clear packaging materials. Fresh foods such as seafood and meat sold over the counter can be packaged in paper and wax wrappers.

Designers of food packaging materials often have new products in development, including products with features such as temperature sensors to alert consumers that food has been stored at unsafe temperatures. Companies looking for new packaging for their products can request samples from various manufacturers to find out more about what is available. Some companies may have environmental concerns and may look to recycled or compostable food packaging materials.

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