- Gives food a longer shelf-life.
- Protects food during transportation and storage.
- Keeps food clean from dirt and bacteria.
- Provides information.
- Advertises the product.
- Holds the food in place.
Certain materials are better for packaging particular foods than others.There are various things to consider when you want to decide what packaging to use.
Do remember that packaging will influence how people view your product. You may want to make it look expensive and extravagant, or basic and good value. It all depends on the image you want to get across.
The following table is a list of the different packaging types and their advantages and disadvantages...
|Paper||Wood||Can be waxed to make it waterproof, easy to print on, cheap, can be recycled.||Not very strong.||Flour, sugar, loose fruit and vegetables.|
|Cardboard||Wood||Lightweight, easily shaped, easy to print on, can be recycled.||Soggy if wet.||Frozen foods, cereals, fruit juice|
|Glass||Sand||See-through, can be coloured, cheap, can be recycled, easily moulded.||Can break easily. Often needs a paper or plastic film label. Heavy.||Jam, wine, picles, milk, cooking sauces.|
|Metal (Tinplate and aluminium)||Ores||Heat treated to preserve the contents, can be recycled, strong, lightweight.||Can rip (foil lids), often needs a utensil to open it, needs a paper label. Heat treatment can alter texture and taste||Yoghurt lids, tinned foods, bottle tops.|
The UK Food Labelling Regulations 1996 state that the following information must be shown...
1. Food product name: Or if this does not fully say what the food is, a description of it.
2. List of ingredients: These are listed in descending order of weight. This list will include water and additives, and may give the % of a particular ingredient.
3. Storage conditions: Any special storage instructions or conditions of use. Temperature is very important!
4. Shelf life: An indication of when the food should be eaten: 'use by' date - for foods such as meat, fish and cheese with a short shelf-life, and 'best-before date'- for food such as tinned and frozen with a long shelf-life.
5. Instructions for use: Instructions on how to prepare and cook the food.
6. Name and address of manufacturer: Or for own label products (from supermarkets), the details of the retailer (for example, Sainsbury's).
7. Place of origin: For example, strawberries are often a "product of Spain".
8. Weight or volume: Most amounts given have an e by the side, which means that it is an average weight.
The following information is voluntary...
1. A picture: If a picture is shown it must not be misleading, and if other foods are shown with it, the words 'serving suggestion' are usually added.
2. Recipe ideas.
3. Bar codes.
4. Environmental and recycling information.
5. Nutritional information: Law only requires this when a special claim is made about a particular food - for example, "high in Vitamin C". It must then include the minimum % of that ingredient.
6. Lot or batch mark.
7. Opening instructions.
8. Special information: For example, dietary group ("suitable for vegetarians"), grade of hotness on a curry, etc.
Symbols often found on food labels...
= You can freeze the product at home.
= You can heat the product in the microwave.
= The food contains no meat or fish but may contain animal product.