The 2022 IBIE Baking Expo is right around the corner and thousands of bakery professionals are gearing up to explore the latest industry innovations, products, and consumer trends. With 50+ years in the food packaging industry, we know one trend that isn’t going away: optimizing bakery product integrity.
Effective packaging plays an important role in maximizing product shelf life and keeping products fresher longer. Here are 5 ways to tell if your packaging supplier is a strong partner.
1. Follow Food Safety Guidelines
As a first line of defense, product integrity begins with food safe packaging. A trustworthy food packaging partner will do the following.
- Use FDA- and USDA-approved materials: Approved by nationally recognized food leadership organizations, these materials are designed for food contact and limit contamination.
- Receive Food Safety Accreditations: Yearly tests by an approved GFSI-certified (Global Food Safety Initiative) testing agency ensure packaging manufacturers across the country are held to universal food safety standards.
- Maintain Material Traceability: This line-of-sight limits contamination issues and simplifies problem tracing to the source for quicker solutions.
2. Understand Your Product Needs
Packaging isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution – even within the bakery industry. While most bakery items benefit from packaging with some off-gassing properties and moisture barrier capabilities, its criticality varies by product.
Off-gassing properties allow oxygen to slowly release from the package, while moisture barriers keep existing moisture in and outside moisture out. Maintaining this balance slows mold growth and prevents products from getting stale.
- Choose Between Monolayer vs. Multilayer Film
- Monolayer Packaging: This packaging style consists of one material in a single film layer. It’s more cost-effective, offers higher material purity, and has some off-gassing and moisture barrier properties. These films are most appropriate for breads, bagels, single-serve pastries and frozen products.
- Multilayer Packaging: This packaging style combines multiple substrates to take advantage of different material strengths. While more costly to produce, it’s strength increases the protection of applications requiring strong barriers. For many products, this level of protection is not required. For oily/greasy products like donuts, an extra barrier to keep smells and grease in, is beneficial.
- Identify the Right Film Type: Two common substrates for bakery packaging include Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and Polypropylene. For products like breads and bagels, LDPE is a better choice to achieve the fine balance of off-gassing capabilities and moderate barrier protection. Polypropylene provides excellent moisture barrier and average gas-barrier properties. The extremely high clarity and gloss of Polypropylene make it a great solution for snacks, cakes, sweets, and other grab and go products.
- Select Features Used in Automated Packaging Systems: Bakery manufacturers using high speed packaging systems will require bag styles to support the automated process. Wicket bags are individually cut bags held together on a U-shaped metal wicket. One side opening allows for easy access during the filling process.
3. Customize Packaging for Storage Conditions
The storage environment for bakery products can play a huge role in their shelf life. Products with higher moisture content, like breads and cakes, are prone to staling more noticeably than other bakery items. Exposure to temperatures between 32 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit can speed-up this process.1
Selecting the proper film substrate will slow the product degradation to keep products fresher longer.
- Leverage Freezer Films: Frozen breads and bakery items require a film blend that performs at subzero temperatures. Special film blends are designed to limit the transfer of oxygen and moisture to help minimize cold crack, increase puncture resistance, and protect against freezer burn. Flash freezing bread suspends the staling process, allowing products to remain fresher for longer, compared to its unfrozen counterpart.
- Consider Antimicrobial Additives: More effectively prevent the risk of contamination with antimicrobial properties that combat the growth of bacteria and fungus, such as e. Coli and MRSA2. Bakery products can benefit from antimicrobial additives.
- Incorporate UV-Protection: Sunlight exposure can cause premature packaging and product degradation. Bakery products and sweets are especially sensitive to the impacts of UV-light.
- Protect Against Static Electricity: 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.
4. Make Your Products Jump Off the Shelf
It’s important that packaging stands out from the competition – whether in-store or online. Packaging style and functionality can peak consumer interest and build brand awareness for future product sales.
- Customize Bag Style: Modern consumers are on-the go and looking for convenient food options. Bakery packaging should be easy to open and simple to use to keep products fresh.
- Grab Customer Attention: Packaging is often a first brand impression and it’s important for it to represent it well, while clearly communicating product information.
- Consider Sustainable Options: Interest in sustainability is growing and eco-friendly packaging is a great place to start. The use of compostable or recyclable packaging demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and understanding of consumer interests.
5. Committed to Fulfilling Your Needs
A strong packaging partner customizes packaging solutions to fit your products’ needs and optimize your manufacturing processes. At Great American Packaging, our decades of experience have equipped us to protect product integrity and respond quickly to manufacturer requests.
Keeping our supply chains local, we are a proud U.S. manufacturer committed to delivering high quality products and responsive white glove service. Reach out to us today – and visit us at IBIE in Booth 5509 – to see how we can help you with your bakery packaging needs.
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For products that come in contact with the substrate.