Modern Food Packaging Designed To Withstand Temperatures
Food was to wrap fish and chips in greaseproof paper, and seal in the heat with a layer of newspaper. The best method available for cold food if the household didn’t possess a refrigerator, was an ice box kept reasonably cold, funnily enough, with a block of ice. We’ve come a long way since then, with all manner of containers, packages, packets, bags etc. to withstand the extremes of temperature that our food now is subjected to. The level of quality control expected of our food packaging allows us as consumers to be confident that our food is safe to eat, whether hot or cold.
The obvious conclusion to be drawn here is that the choice of packaging has to be absolutely right for the product. With all the regulation around food packaging, manufacturers have to be certain that the packaging they choose for any particular product must keep the contents safe for human consumption, and also be suitable for either heating or freezing, whichever is required.
Most frozen food for example, is cooked in a microwave oven, so manufacturers have developed packaging that can be taken from the freezer and placed straight into the microwave, opening up a lucrative market and providing a whole new level of convenience for the consumer. This type of packaging must withstand a number of steps during the manufacturing process, including machine filling, sealing and freezing. After leaving the factory the product must also be transported and stored, until purchase by the customer, after which it is again transported, then thawed and cooked.
Most hot foods do not need the transportation and storage requirements of frozen food. This is because it is prepared for almost immediate consumption. The most obvious requirement for the packaging of hot foods is that the container can withstand high temperatures, and not melt or buckle. The integrity of the contents must be maintained at all times to meet with food regulation standards. However, hot foods are a more bacteria friendly environment, so care must be taken regarding the amount of time the food is kept heated.
Just when the consumer believes there is no further innovations that can be made in food packaging, along comes something different. The latest item of interest is the move by the large supermarket chains away from the paper bag lined with foil to keep chickens hot. The foil bag is still popular with smaller food retailers, but the larger stores seem to prefer plastic bags in Brisbane.
Whatever the type of packaging, it must always be able to preserve the integrity of the contents, whether they are hot or cold. If it can also provide nutritional information and have an eye-catching and colourful design, it will be a winner with consumers, which is really what modern packaging is all about.