Modern product packaging is expected to play many roles. It should grab customer attention in the store. Be a great first impression of your product. Appeal to consumer environmental concerns. Even increase product sustainability.
But the most important role packaging plays is protecting the integrity of your products. A product’s first line of defense, packaging must protect it throughout its journey – from the manufacturing facility, to the store shelf, to our homes.
Explore the following key considerations to make sure your products travel safely.
Begin With the Right Materials
It’s no surprise that high-quality packaging begins with high-quality materials. For food manufacturers, packaging serves as an extension of your product. Unique product needs and strict food-safety protocols determine the appropriate materials and construction style for peak performance and consumer safety.
High-Quality Packaging Markers
- FDA- and USDA-Approved, Pure Virgin Resins: All food packaging should use materials designed for food contact to limit product contamination.
- Food-Safety Certifications: Trustworthy packaging manufacturers are certified by an approved GFSI-recognized (Global Food Safety Initiative) testing agency. These standards hold packaging manufacturers to the same quality expectations, across the food industry.
- Excellent Traceability: If contamination or other quality issues do arise, it’s important to be able to trace problems to the source. Packaging partners that prioritize traceability will simplify this process, making it easier to identify the root cause and solve the issue.
Monolayer vs. Multilayer Films
Beyond quality materials, food manufacturers should assess whether monolayer or multilayer packaging is the best solution for their product. Both styles offer specific benefits that make them suitable for different product types.
- Monolayer Packaging: This packaging style consists of one material in a single film layer. It’s more cost-effective, offers higher material purity and is a suitable solution for most applications. It is also easier to recycle and manufacture, reducing its carbon footprint. This style is most commonly used with bread, frozen food and other retail and industrial applications.
- Multilayer Packaging: This packaging style combines multiple substrates to take advantage of different material strengths. While more costly to produce, it offers higher strength and increased protection for applications that need strong barriers. This style is often used for mixes and snack food applications. For many products, this level of protection is not required and brings an unnecessary added cost.
Adapt to the Environment
Whether at room temperature, freezing conditions, or anywhere in-between, packaging must optimize product integrity in its desired environment. Below we explore several packaging customizations and their most applicable use cases.
- Freezer-Safe: Frozen products require a film blend built to perform at subzero temperatures. Special film blends are designed to minimize cold crack, increase puncture resistance and protect against breakage and freezer burn.
- Breathable: Fresh products like produce continue to take in oxygen and release CO2 – even after they’ve been packaged. To maintain maximum freshness, packaging must allow for these gasses to enter and exit through the film.
- Barrier: Aromatic and flavorful food products rely on barrier packaging to keep beneficial flavors and smells in, and undesirable moisture, gasses and light out. These capabilities are most relevant for snacks and other perishable items with an extended shelf life.
- Antimicrobial: More effectively prevent the risk of contamination with antimicrobial properties that combat the growth of bacteria and fungus, such as e. Coli and MRSA. All food types can benefit from the impact of antimicrobial additives.
- Anti-Static: Static electricity creates challenges for the packing process and can ruin a package’s aesthetics with dust build-up. This additive reduces static electricity and can be beneficial for all food types, especially when packaging ingredients, such as mixes.
- UV-Protection: Sunlight exposure can cause premature packaging and product degradation. Products most sensitive to the impacts of UV-light such as dairy products, dried nuts, fresh meats and sweets.
Maximize Physical Security
In addition to customizing for specific environmental needs, packaging can incorporate physical attributes to create higher-strength and tamper-resistant solutions.
- High-Strength, Puncture-Resistant Films: These films help prevent products from rupturing their packaging. This is most critical for heavy-duty products or items with sharp edges.
- Tamper-Evident Seals: One-time seals reassure consumers of product integrity or quickly show signs of product tampering. Seals can come in several styles, including perforated, tear-away strips, and tape strips for one-time manual sealing. The inclusion of zippers below these tamper-evident seals allows consumers to reseal the package once it has been opened to optimize freshness and product longevity.
Work with an Experienced Packaging Partner
At Great American Packaging, we remain committed to upholding the strictest food safety standards across our facility. With decades of experience with rigorous food-safety standards, our manufacturing processes have equipped us to protect product integrity for more than 50 years.
Keeping our supply chains local, we are a proud U.S. manufacturer that can quickly adapt to changes in demand to deliver products sooner, while reducing our overall carbon footprint. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you with your food packaging needs.
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