Types of Packaging Materials Used for Industrial Packaging of Food Products

Published: 09th March 2010
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The main purpose of packaging are to hold its contents securely to prevent leakage and breakage, to protect the foods from different hazards like germs, heat, moisture loss or moisture pick up, etc., to protect the contents while distribution, etc. For all types of packaging, there are different types of packages. The different types of packages can be classified into two groups:

Retail Containers: These containers protect food or the content from different damages and at the same time they advertise the product for retail sale. For example, glass bottles, sachets, over wraps, plastic bottles, metal cans, etc. They can be used for home storage also.

Shipping Containers: These containers contain and protect food and other items during distribution and transport or any other marketing function. For example, sacks, stretch or shrink wrapped containers, corrugated fire board cartons, drums, barrels, crates and foil bags.

Industrial packaging materials are different from the traditional packaging materials. Different types of industrial packaging materials include:

Metal Containers: Two types of metal cans are used like, double seam, which are used for making canned foods and metal containers with push on lids which are used to store dry foods like coffee powder, milk powder, dry yeast, etc. Double seamed cans are made up of aluminum or tin plated steel that are lined with specific lacquers suiting different types of foods. Cans are widely used as they have many advantages. They can give total protection to the food. They are tamper proof, and can be made in different shapes and sizes. At the same time, they have certain disadvantages like they are heavier than plastics and thus have high transport costs. Large metal drums are used as shipping containers for oil, juices and many other liquid foods. Metal containers made of aluminum are very helpful as they are impermeable to moisture, micro organisms, lights, odors, etc.

Glass Containers: Glass jars and bottles are very popular for packaging foods. They protect food from moisture, pests, and micro organism. These are very useful as they can be processed under heat, reusable, recyclable, rigid, can be stored and are transparent to display its contents or the food inside. Along with different advantages it has certain disadvantages too. They are heavier and for this require higher transport costs. They can be easily broken, especially, when transporting through rough roads. These are mainly used for packing foods like different preservatives such as jams, jellies, juices, pickles, beer, wine, etc.

Paper and Cardboard Containers: Paper and cardboard containers are mainly made from wood pulps and some other additional elements to make a proper container. Different types of papers are used to wrap foods. For example, sulphate papers are used as paper sacks for fruits, vegetables, flour, sugar, etc. Small paper board tubs or sacks can be used for confectionery, snack foods, and nuts. White boards are suitable for ice cream, chocolates, and frozen cartons because they are coated with wax or plastic to make the container heat sealable. Chip boards are used as outer cartons, especially, for tea or cereals but not contacting the food.

Plastic Films: Flexible plastic films are relatively lighter. They protect food and other materials from heat, gas and moisture. They add little weight to the food and fit according to the shape of the material transported. They don't take much space and have dry and wet strengths making them convenient for the consumer, manufacturer and the retailer. Foods like milk are packed in such flexible plastic films.

Polythene: Much less expensive than other packaging materials, they are act as a good moisture barrier but not a good odor barrier. High density polythene are thicker, stronger and are better barriers for moisture and gas.

There are many other types of packages like polypropylene, coated films, laminated films, coextruded films, rigid and semi rigid plastic containers and many more. Each of these containers have individual advantages and own quality.

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Pam Robinson provides up-to-date information about the types of packaging material including foil bags used for industrial packaging of food products.

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