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Food Packaging: The Good and The Bad

Food Packaging: The Good and The Bad

In today’s world, there are plenty of different types of food packaging available.

Food packaging comes in all sorts and sizes. Although most of us do not pay much attention to what kind of wrapping is used around our beverages, the type of packaging used can, in fact, have a major influence on the food itself. Certain packaging materials are, for example, known to preserve the food’s taste and appearance better. Others are simply healthier and safer to use as they do not contain any dangerous chemicals.

In today’s world, there are plenty of different types of food packaging available. Most of us do, however, not know what are the healthy and environmentally friendly choices when it comes to food packaging. Below, a quick look will be given at the most commonly used packaging materials in the food industry along with their benefits and potential risks.

Plastic

Plastic is perhaps the most commonly used packaging material in many industries including the one for food and beverages. Plastic is extremely cheap to make, easy to transport, and very durable. All these qualities make plastic wrappings perfect for holding food. In the food industry, they can be found in the form of bottles, jars, and boxes. Take a look in the kitchen of any household or restaurant, and it’s unlikely there won’t be any plastic containers lying around. The most famous example of plastic food packaging is likely to be Styrofoam boxes that can be found in any takeaway restaurant around the country.

Although plastic is durable and cheap, the usage of it also brings along some potential dangers. Plastics are highly chemical and there are examples of these chemicals leaking into the food. The most famous example of this is the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is one of the world’s most commonly produced chemicals that can often be found back in food packaging. Although opinions differ on the dangers of BPA, many major health institutions and even national governments advise people to be careful. There are studies showing that the intake of BPA can cause severe health problems including cancer.

Glass

Glass is another material that is used fairly often in the food industry. It is especially popular in the form of bottles, jars, and containers. The reason why you may not come across glass packaging that often compared to plastic lies in the fact that it is significantly more expensive to produce and transport. Added to that glass is much more likely to break.

The usage of glass jars and bottles may be a bit more expensive, but it does bring along some significant benefits. Glass is, in fact, a natural material and does not contain any chemicals. In fact, according to the U.S Food & Drug Administration (2016), glass is one of the only materials that is considered 100% safe to use for packaging purposes. Glass furthermore forms a highly effective barrier to outside air, most, and smell. Thanks to this, it helps to preserve the content of your jars and bottles much longer. Last but not least, glass is fully recyclable—making the use of it an environmentally friendly choice.

Metal

The metal and tin packaging found in the food industry is mostly used in the form of canning. Tin cans offer a highly efficient way to preserve food as they can be sealed off in order to create an airtight container. As of such, tin cans allow you to preserve food for a much longer period of time. Tin cans are most commonly used for preserved foods and soups but also for candy, soft drinks, and beer.

Aluminum and tin are the most commonly used metals as they are solid and durable. They are furthermore resistant to rust and are fairly light in weight. Tin containers are 100 percent recyclable and considered to be among the most sustainable packaging materials available today.

Brick Carton

Brick carton is a package that has been made from numerous layers of paperboard, plastic, aluminum, and low-density polyethylene. This packaging material is mostly used to store liquids. As an example, you can think about juice boxes. Thick cartons with a water-resistant interior designed to hold drinks or sauces. Brick carton is extremely cheap and easy to make—making it a very popular wrapping among food and beverage companies.

This type of packaging helps companies to preserve their products by increasing the shelf life of fresh products for up to 6 months. It furthermore prevents a product from getting damaged by light, heat, pressure, and external pollution. Brick carton is cheap, recyclable, and considered to be a healthy and sustainable way to package foods and drinks.

Source: QSR Magazine