Food packaging comes in various shapes and in different materials. Each packaging has different purposes to serve depending on its material, shape, and size. However, there are some basic qualities that all food packaging materials must have to offer good results. Packaging material must have a balance between its functions and its size.
Packaging materials should serve the main purpose of packaging i.e. preservation. Also, they have to contain and protect the food from external environmental factors. They have to be flexible, rigid, or semi-flexible based on their roles.
There are 3 major categories of packaging materials that are available in 8 different types. Always hire an expert Food Packaging company to pack your product in industry standard materials.
Major Categories of Food Packaging Materials
Food packaging materials can be divided into many categories and in various ways. They can be categorized depending on their barrier properties, durability, size, and weight. However, the industry experts separate them based on flexibility or rigidity. This makes easy for manufacturers to pick suitable packaging material for their products.
Here are 3 main categories and type of packaging that falls under these categories.
A. Flexible Packages
These materials are flexible and stretchy including trays, wraps (shrink, bubble, cling), and bags.
B. Rigid Packages
These are inflexible, firm and stiff and includes caps, jars, cans, trays, and bottles.
C. Semi-flexible Packages
These are the materials that are somewhat flexible but offer a certain level of rigidity. Tetra packs, boxes, closures and caps are included in this category.
Different Kinds of Food Packaging
Below are the major types of food packaging that are in practice.
1. Aseptic Food Packaging
Aseptic packaging is commonly used for sterile foods to preserve them. Milk, eggs, and dairy products are the main items that undergo the aseptic process. However, other foods that are meant to be preserved are also packed this way. Aseptic packaging material is manufactured from aluminium, polyethylene, and paper. A tight layer of polyethylene is also attached inside of the packaging.
Bags are among the most commonly used food packaging items. Bags are used to prevent food items from outside the environment. Usually, snacks such as pretzels and chips are packed in the bags to preserve them from direct air contact.
Trays are another way of packaging food that needs no introduction. These are mostly used to keep the food items in place. They are commonly made from either plastic or paperboard. Food items such as meats, vegetables, salad, and rice are packed in trays.
Cartons are made from corrugated fibreboard and mainly used to transport a large quantity of food. These are further divided into four categories based on their use.
A. Egg Cartons
These cartons are usually moulded into an egg shape and hence get the name egg cartons. Egg carton offers protection to mobile food and is the most commonly used carton type.
B. Aseptic cartons
We have already discussed the aseptic packaging and aseptic cartons serve the same purpose. Soup, Juice, and milk cartons are the main examples.
C. Folding cartons
As the name represents, these cartons are folded as per the requirement. They are used to pack different types of food, mostly snacks.
D. Gable Tops
This is a type of carton that is used to hold juice and milk. These come with a pinch and pull option to offer a better user experience.
Cartons and boxes are somewhat interchangeable packaging materials. However, boxes are one of the easiest ways to transport food items. They are made from wood, corrugated fibreboard, and metal. Usually, snacks, cereals, frozen parathas, and pizzas are transported in the boxes.
Cans are more secure packaging items to transport foods. Manufacturers usually use thin metal or steel to make cans. However, glass jars are more common for home-based items. These can store and preserve food items for a long time.
This packaging material is mostly used to pack individual items. Wrappers offer great protection against environmental factors and work as a barrier. Candy bars and chocolates are perfect examples of wrapper packaging.
Pallets are used by manufacturers to transport a large number of products. Product boxes are placed together, loaded on the pallet, and then they are wrapped. They ensure the secure transportation of food items in large quantities and reduce food movement.