Packaging has become a huge component of food purchases over the past few decades. But what are the benefits of different types of food packaging materials? During this guide, we go over the most common types of materials used in the food industry.
Plastic food packaging materials, made from organic polymeric materials, are light, versatile and can be molded into different shapes. Plastic packaging and containers are also great for protecting against food contamination and providing enough mechanical strength. Plastics are also super low cost and low energy during manufacturing. They are able to protect and preserve food for longer periods of time, thereby reducing the need for preservatives in food. Plastics are recyclable, easy to open and handle and provide an excellent surfacing for printing brands and labels.
Metal packaging materials, including steel, tin and aluminum, are great for protecting and preserving canned foods and beverages. Metals are made of an opaque material, which is excellent for protecting food that is sensitive to light. Tin cans consist of a steel sheet that is coated with tin to help protect against the corrosion of steel, especially when containing food and beverage products with lower pH levels. Aluminum is also a great material for canning, because it is light, recyclable and low cost. Aluminum foil contains layers of laminated aluminum. Since it’s highly flexible, it can protect and preserve food in the home.
Glass is impermeable to vapors and gases, making it a great oxygen barrier when used as a food packaging material. That being said, it is fairly fragile and heavy, and it needs a lot of energy during the manufacturing process. It’s also not a renewable material, but it is recyclable. Glass containers can include anything from bottles to jars to glasses to ampoules. However, glass cannot be used in the freezer, since it can break easily.