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7 Types of Food Packaging

Food packaging has an impressive range of containers. Some have existed for over a hundred years, such as cans, bottles and jars. More recently, the modern, high-tech approach of Protective Atmosphere Packaging ( MAP ).

A good atmosphere …

In protective atmosphere packaging (MAP) foods are packaged in a container such as trays or bags where the air is expelled and replaced by a mixture of gases. The type and amount of gas used in the mixture will depend on the product. The goal is to increase the shelf life of the product while maintaining a tempting appearance.

Often this means removing most of the oxygen so that microbes, which spoil the food, can not grow in the package. For this, a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide may be suitable. These gases are naturally present in the atmosphere so they are perfectly safe. The method is excellent for fresh products, ranging from meat to fruit. Protective atmosphere packaging (MAP) requires a high level of quality assurance: it is vital that the gas mixture is correct and that there are no leaks in the packaging.

Advantages this Food packaging :

  •     Good shelf life
  •     Excellent presentation
  •     Ideal for fresh products

Disadvantages this Food packaging:

High level of quality assurance required, requiring investment in appropriate devices

The value of the vacuum

In the vacuum packs the air is sucked out of the package in order to press the film to the product. The film tries to take the form of the product. The absence of air increases the life of the product.

It can be difficult to get an attractive presentation of the product. The package is rarely flat since the film will seek to take the shape of the product which does not have an ideal surface for labeling. The method is reserved for products that can resist deformation.

So, vacuum packs are suitable for products like cheese blocks. Conversely, it is not suitable for soft products such as fruits, soft cheeses, salted pastries or snack products.

Advantages :

  •     Extended shelf life


  •     Appearance not necessarily attractive
  •     May be difficult to label due to lack of flatness depending on the product
  •     Only suitable for products that can be compressed by the packaging
  •     Requires good quality assurance to test leaks, which can be tricky to do

Skin Packaging

Skin packaging has developed in recent years. The product is placed on a rigid cardboard tray and then covered with a plastic film that has been softened by heat. The film is formed around the product then it is sealed to the tray below. This makes it possible to obtain a good shelf life of the product and a more attractive presentation than with standard vacuum packaging. However, skin packaging is not suitable for all food products. It is used for products such as meat and fish.


  •     Extended shelf life
  •     Better presentation than with vacuum packaging


Not suitable for all products

The box that keeps!

The biggest advantage of tin cans as a Food packaging is the shelf life. The products contained in one of these boxes can be kept for months or even years. The packaging is robust. However, the consumer can not see the contents of the box, and this method is not suitable for fresh products because the canning process is at very high temperatures. Finally, cans are heavy, can generate a high cost of transport.


  •     Long shelf life
  •     Robustness


  •     We can not see what’s inside
  •     Unsuitable for fresh products
  •     Costly process

Glass heart

Glass bottles and jars have been around for hundreds of years. The glass is transparent so you can see what the packaging contains. Glass can be worked in many different forms. This can be important to stand out and give the product a strong brand image. As with tin cans, the shelf life can be very long. And as for tin cans, bottles and jars are not the best solution for fresh produce. Finally, the glass is fragile and heavy.

Advantages :

  •     Can have a distinctive shape to give a strong brand image
  •     Transparent so the product is visible


  •     Not suitable for fresh products
  •     Can break easily
  •     Heavy therefore expensive in transport
  •     Expensive

Cheap and unpretentious

A big advantage with paper or cardboard food packaging is that the material is inexpensive. It allows you to easily print a graphic and text on the package. Thus the packaging can become very distinctive, with colorful logos and images. However, because the material is porous, the contents of the package are not protected from the air from outside the package. So for fresh products, the service life is reduced. Often paper and cardboard are used as “secondary packaging”. Meaning that the product is contained in a bag or a tray and that it is placed in a cardboard box or a case. For example, breakfast cereals are often packaged this way.

Advantages :

  •     Cheap
  •     Allows to stand out thanks to graphics, logos, etc …


  •     Short shelf life for fresh products
  •     Only suitable for dry products

And finally … a little cold

By freezing food it is possible to extend their life for a few months. But although some foods freeze properly, for others this is not the case. Fresh fruits, for example, usually lose their flavor and sturdiness after being frozen. Frozen food is not necessarily visually appealing. And it is important to ensure, from the producer to the consumer, that the cold chain is respected via specialist carriers and adapted storage sites.

Advantages :

  •     Very long lifetime


  •     Not very attractive
  •     Many products do not freeze properly
  •     Production, storage, transportation require the use of specialists in the respect of the cold chain

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