The Evolution Of Packaging

Although we seldom consider it, every time we open a food product that we purchased at the store we are taking advantage of thousands of years' worth of innovation in food packaging. Whether it's the cardboard box holding our cereal, the glass jar holding our olives, the paper sack holding our popcorn or the plastic bag our macaroni comes in, the way our food is packaged is tremendously important and plays a role in the lives of every single Australian every day. Learn more about the evolution of food packaging supplies by reading on below.

Paper: From Wrapping Food To Boxing It Up

Paper has its origins in 2nd century BC China, when people started wrapping their food in mulberry bark. This probably marked the first time in history that people chose not to eat their food as soon as they came across it, choosing instead to save it for later. The Chinese perfected an efficient process for producing paper soon after. Years later, in 1310, paper making took hold in England. This paper was made out of cellulose which was usually found in linen.

In 1867, paper making became much easier when people discovered that cellulose could be found in wood pulp. Paper use exploded, and it began being used in a lot of different food packaging applications. The paper bags that became so ubiquitous in England around the 1840s segued into the cotton flour sacks that became the standard for many different things. During the 1870s, cartons were first invented and came into popular use. The main food product that propelled cartons and cardboard into extreme popularity were cereals - especially once popular types of cereal were introduced by the Kellogg's company.

Plastic Changes The Food Packaging Game

While paper could arguably be considered the first mainstream kind of food packaging and is still widely used as such today, there's no question that the introduction of plastics in food packaging during the late 1970s and the early 1980s changed things a lot. Plastic was discovered in the 19th century but didn't find widespread, mainstream use until the late 20th century. In addition to plastic containers, cellophane and other types of transparent film are commonly used to package food and are made out of plastic, too.

Interestingly enough, plastics are being given a run for their money by the paper packaging industry once more as more and more people become concerned about the environment. While plastics certainly aren't going anywhere - they will continue to be popularly used in food packaging - it's likely that more companies will eschew it in favour of paper wherever possible. There's no question, though, that plastic creates the perfect packaging for a broad array of different food products.