Packaging in the food industry is the science of using the products’ protection technics for the warehousing, sale, and final delivery of goods to the customer. In this way, the complete protection from the production to consumption step should be in a way not expose the foods in contact with the pollution, and foods health should be guaranteed. Packaging is a connection between the seller and buyer in addition to protecting the identified factors. Packing should be cheap, simple, effective, and marketing attractive as much as possible. Packing should supply better and easier transportation conditions. The effective factors in packing include transparency, impenetrability, physical protection, and no contact with steam, oxygen, and moisture control. The purpose of packaging is to increase shelf life and protect against pathogens, external, and internal spoilage of food, and oxidation.
Packaging is done as follows up to 3 layers:
Primary packaging: the first layer of packaging is known as the primary packaging which contacts with the products without any intermediaries. Primary packaging is usually the smallest unit of distribution or usage.
Secondary packaging: it is called to the layer after the primary layer. This package can be used to categorize the primary packages.
Third packaging: This type of packing plays a more important role in long-distance and overseas transportation of products on the ship. This packaging can contain outer cartons containing several smaller packages of food.
Necessity of packaging
- Requirements include proper quality, compatibility between product and packaging, maintaining safety, and relevant requirements to environmental conditions, etc.
- Protection and maintenance against mechanical damage during storage and distribution, protection against oxidation, volatility, corruption, the interaction between product, packaging, environmental damage, microbes, insects, animals, etc.
- Providing product specifications and information on the packaging, announcing the necessary standards, and signs on the packaging.
- Providing market attractions to maintain effective marketing and higher sales.
- Providing consumer comfort
- Using appropriate materials in packaging appropriate to the type of product and subgroups of food consumers
- Increasing the product shelf life and preventing the production of waste and internal and external corruption factors
- Better and easier marketing and transportation
- Preventing physical damage to the product (physical protection) from the production step to the storage, distribution, unloading, and final customer delivery step.
- Preventing the caused damage by climate change
- Protecting the health of the product
- Better marketing and attracting customers
- Informing and expressing the requirements on the packaging including the proper storage condition, specifications, how to use products, compositions, storage, standards, etc.
Packaging material in food industry
Different materials and different types of packaging styles are used for food according to the type of product, how to use it, target market, and its useful life, which are mentioned as follows:
- Plastic packaging (nylon, metallized, cellophane, polyethylene, vinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyolefins, etc.)
- Carton-paper (standing, zippered, kraft, metallized envelopes, quad package, laminated paper, parchment paper, cardboard, carton, etc.)
- Metal and cans (tin-plated metal cans, aluminum, etc.)
- Glass packaging
Packaging methods in the food industry
Types of materials in packaging include food films, glass, paper, antibacterial packaging, carbon nanotubes, zinc oxide, silver nanoparticles, etc. Furthermore, the following methods are used as effective packaging methods in industry:
Aseptic packaging method
The aseptic method involves sterilizing the product, packaging, and pre-sterilization process of the material to be free of any microorganisms. This method is used for packaging milk and liquids such as fruit juices.
Controlled atmosphere packaging (CAP)
Controlled atmospheric packaging (CAP) is a system that aims to increase shelf life by changing the gaseous environment inside and outside of the food product. It is especially used for perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, pasta with high humidity, and fruits such as apples, pears, and some groups of vegetables.
Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP)
MAP is performed in two forms of actively and passively. In the active mode, the air inside the package is evacuated and then the desired gas composition is injected into the package. However, in the inactive mode, the product is packaged in a normal atmosphere and the desired modified air is created after a few days because of the product breathability and the special permeability of the film. This type of packaging in the food industry is one of the useful methods in various types of food packaging. MAP is the packaging of a perishable product in modified air.
Types of food packaging machines
Packaging machines are divided into two types of household and industrial. Packaging machines are selected based on their type. The main objective to select the type of food packaging machines is to make stable and standard conditions for food protection and storage for a long time and increase the shelf life of products in hygienic conditions. The type of the systems depends on the type of food, being solid or fluid of these systems as follows:
- Weighing packaging machine
- Powder packing machine
- Volumetric packaging machine
- Bag filling machines
- Filling liquids and concentrates machines
- Cellophane packaging
- Vacuum packaging to prevent food spoilage by removing air from the inside of the package
- Canned packaging
Food Lord Company uses the best materials and technics in the world in the packaging of its food products including dried fruits, dried vegetables and nuts to provide the consumer a healthy and quality product with an attractive appearance.