Carboard packaging is incredibly versatile and is the preferred solution in many sectors ranging from cosmetics, to pharma, to the health industry…
But is it the right solution for food?
Advances in food processing and food packaging play a primary role in keeping our food supply safe around the world. Packaging technology must balance food protection with other issues, including energy and material costs, a growing awareness regarding sustainability, and changing regulations about pollution and disposal of waste.
This is why corrugated is perfect for delivering food products in top condition: it is resistant, hygienic and easy for the brand to decorate.
Characteristics of food packaging
Food generally has a short shelf-life. When we selecting products online, at a store or buy take-away, the client has high expectations in terms of presentation, quality, aroma and taste and health.
Food packaging can be used as secondary packaging for easy transportation and can also be in contact with the food, so it needs to:
- Be hygienic
- Keep items fresh and presentable
- Immediately catch the customer’s attention
- Transport items safely and prevent damage
- Maintain or even extend the shelf-life of the product
- Protect from contamination, decay, mold, micro bacteria and gases
- Provide information about the ingredients and nutritional values
- Be traceable
- Provide tamper indications
What are the main packaging materials in the food industry?
There are 4 main materials used in food packaging, and they all have their pros and cons:
- Can be sterilised
- Barrier to moisture and oxygen
- Great for recycling
- More expensive for the client
- Might break
- Easy moulding into different shapes and sizes
- Can be both rigid or flexible
- Easy to decorate and label
- Not green
- Great strength
- Blocks gas and moisture and extends the food’s shelf- life
- Pressure resilient
- Temperature resistant
- Hermetic sealing
- Good at maintaining the freshness and aroma of the foods
- Corrosion resistance t coatings
- Can be sterilised
- Easy to decorate and label
The advantages of using carboard for food packaging
Paper and cardboard hare highly versatile and can be use in rigid or flexible form for boxes, tubes, trays or paper bags and be molded into specific shapes such as egg cartons.
Cardboard is also subject to many types of treatments based on the purpose of the box:
- It can be laminated to improve additional strength and barrier properties
- It can be coated with a water−based acrylic emulsion containing essential oils so that the quality, color and firmness of fresh produce is not affected and losses due to decay are minimized
- It can be waxed to prevent it from getting soggy, especially when foods need to be refrigerated or frozen
- Also, water-activated tape can be used to create a strong, secure seal with cardboard cartons that is ideal for e-commerce.
Consumers eat with their eyes before their mouths, so packaging needs to look appealing and make the client feel safe about the quality of the food. When it comes to marketing strategies, it is your responsibility to give unique and quality packaging.
By choosing cardboard you will make your product more desirable:
- You can showcase your retail products in displaypackaging
- You can use flexographic printingwhich offers a high-quality finish
- Your box can also be completed with a gloss or matte finish, use colors and inks for logos and ingredients lists
- Cardboard can be stylishly embossed by creating partial inward or outward indentations and attract the attention of the client to certain areas of the box that you want to emphasize
Carboard boxes will allow you to elevate your brand image and stand out in a retail environment by making it as elegant and tempting as you wish with your design, logos and artwork.
It is one of the most cost-effective materials in the packaging industry. Since it is so light, it is also easy to transport and cheap for shipping.
Sustainability and fighting food waste
Food waste an economic and social problem and most importantly a challenging environmental issue. The short shelf-life of food products, especially when we consider fresh produce and erroneous or misunderstood expiry date labels are leading to premature and avoidable disposal of food.
Recycling, composting, a sustainable packaging become necessary to minimize waste and food producers need to consider the cost of material extraction, energy consumption and disposal of the packaging material they choose.
Carboard is bio-base and recyclable and therefore seems to be the most responsible choice if you want to lower the carbon footprint of the company.
Microbiological contamination of foods, especially for products such as fruit and vegetables, is a major concern for retailers: spoilage bacteria can affect shelf life and pathogen bacteria can put food safety at risk.
During corrugated manufacturing, the material itself reaches at least 100 °C three times during the production process ensuring the elimination of microbes and bacteria. Also, corrugated carboard is used only once and then can be recycled, dramatically reducing the risk of microbial cross contamination.
On the other hand, the final consumer needs to keep in mind that boxes are often stored in dirty areas so the outside of the box might not be as clean as we think. When the box finally reaches your kitchen it’s safer to remove the products and store them in a clean, safe
Disadvantages of using carboard boxed in food packaging
Of course, there are also some down sides to using carboard:
- They cannot be sealed completely, but staples, tape and glues can help
- Permeability, not suitable in conditions of heavy snow or rain
- Not recommended for very heavy loads as the box might break
Main contributors to the rise of carboard packaging in the food industry
Cardboard packaging is more and more frequently used in the food industry and some recent trends have further boosted this type of choice:
- Online food ordering brands such as Just Eat, Uber EATS and Glovo that have encouraged big and small businesses alike to look for cost effective packaging materials for their deliveries. They need the order to be small, light and preserve the food whether it is frozen, hot or liquid.
- Cardboard has also become a popular alternative for street food venders and takeaways over plastic and polystyrene options
- Many of us now order products online and carboard is a great material for long distance shipping thanks to its light weight
The role of our pile turners in the food industry
The main purpose of Pile Turners is the turning and moving of paper or cardboard pallets. But they do much more than that. Toppy Pile Turners and jogger-aerators increase safety and productivity. Turning paper by hand is risky, time consuming, and costly. Our Pile Turners eliminate the physical demands of hand-turning paper, saving precious time in the processing operations.
With adequate and appropriate preservation and packaging, it is possible to maintain food quality and combat food waste. This is why we have collaborated with many food companies that use polyethylene coated carboard and have chosen to add our pile turners to their packaging line.
Our machines can:
- Work with different types of cardboard that can be in contact with food
- Remove impurities through the air blower
- Reduce the electrostatic charge through the ionization process, improving the finishing process of coated and printed cardboard
Every day, the food packaging industry is faced with the choice of the most appropriate packaging material for the packaging of specific food products. Offering a surprisingly high level of protection, cardboard boxes are great value, incredibly versatile and environmentally friendly. They are secure, efficient and reliable, overall an excellent material for packaging.
For any further information on how your company could benefit by using our machine, feel free to contact our team!