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Packaging industry- Indispensable partner of food industry
Saturday, 14 May, 2022, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Ashwin Bhadri
No matter where you are in the world, the food and beverage industry is one of the current booming industries. From veggies to meat, local to international, every consumable is made available at the fingertips. To ensure or keep the food industry intact another operational industry plays an important role in packaging. Whether it's your favourite snack, soda, pre-packed, ready-to-eat meal, or any food, the packaging is essential to keep your edible food-safe, nutritious and fresh. Few products don’t consider packaging as an essential factor.

While packaging plays an essential role in protecting, and marketing, it should never be neglected. The food industry is practicing the integration of AI and IoT to give consumer’s an enhanced experience. Though the updates are made constantly, basic factors such as packaging, design, and other things are taken into consideration.

With the improvement in technology, certain upgrades can be done to the packaging method. Sustainable packaging is the key to ensure the product is maintained safe and healthy. Eventually, with time, the packaging material is supposed to be environmentally friendly. The food product should contain recyclable, biodegradable, sustainable, and compostable packaging.

To cope with the fast-paced world, and reduce the hassle of the working professionals, the food industry has taken a charge to provide food in biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, and sustainable packaging. Though the improvement in the packaging rises the subscription services, the need for such products continues to grow.

Automation influencing the Food and Beverage Industry

Packaging automation has already been a renowned topic in the industry, the pandemic expedited the process in the past two years.

The integration of automation into packaging has helped to reduce material waste, increases improved accuracy and efficiency, and has fewer instances of strain and injury. Equipment such as flow wrappers, heat shrink machines, and shrink tunnels have made the packaging and shipping of various goods easier. Packaging automation in the food and beverage industry continues to dominate. 

Interactive packaging

When one begins with the business, learning about interactive packaging in the food and beverage industry plays an important role. Advancement in the packaging allows to attract the consumer and know about the brands that exist in the market. Well, the packaging is the only way that a brand can communicate with the consumers.

Absence of packaging cut downs the communications. Consumers can access information such as Nutritional Value, Warning Labels, Manufacturing Date, Expiry Date, and other details only via Packaging. This means the business can leverage the chip, code, or labels to share information about the sustainability cost. This information helps the consumers get educated regarding the consumables. 

Latest update about the Packaging
Food products are packaged to ensure the product is made durable and presented in a hygienic manner to the consumer. Currently, the Food Industry emphasizes on providing environment-friendly packaging.

Additionally, the current focus is to make either ‘warning labels’ or 'hygiene ratings’ applicable on the Front-of- Packaging Label. ‘Warning labels’ or ‘Hygiene Ratings’ are a way to highlight whether the product is safer for consumption. While the hygiene ratings only indicate whether the product is safer for consumption or not, warning labels ensure the reasons behind avoiding the consumption are mentioned.

Front-of-Packaging Label, Hygiene Ratings, and Warning Labels are the methods to educate the consumers about the products, allergens, durability, and other details that influence the purchase decision.

As technology is booming, people can integrate the packaging and creativity in a manner that allows creating awareness as well as educate about the product. A product cannot be easily sold, packaging is one of the important factors that allow attracting the consumer.

Food Pacakging taking charge of the Food Industry
Food packaging delays product deterioration, extends shelf life, and maintains or increases the quality and safety of food. Packaging protects the product from 3 major factors- chemical, physical and biological.

Food Packaging is done to benefit the industry. Here are the benefits experienced-
Reduces food contamination and waste reduction
The foreign particles can affect the quality of the food. The physical particles or at times the chemicals used in the machineries are the reason behind the food contamination.

Usually, food wastage occurs when the consumers have minimal information about the product. Providing the consumption information such as storage, temperature, expiry date, preparation process, and date of manufacturing allows the consumer to stay alert about the usage of the product. Hence, the maximum information on the product label helps to reduce wastage.

Marketing and Information
Every brand has its face or logo that indicates or highlights, markets, or is an identity of a product. Distinctive and Innovative packaging is one of the best ways to boost sales in a competitive environment. Not only does it market the product, but provides the right information such as cooking instructions, brand identification, and pricing.

People currently are busy with the chores they need to perform. Ease of access, handling, disposal, microwave ability, and resealability are the few features that have improved due to the packaging. Consumers are now able to access safe, hygienic, and nutritious food in a single packaging. Packaging allows to add value and be a competitive product in the market.

Material usage in Food Packaging

When we talk about food packaging, material plays an essential role. The material used for packaging helps to improve the shelf life of the product. Choosing the right material and technology helps to maintain the product quality and freshness during the process of storage and distribution. Today the food packages are made available with several materials to ensure the food is not exploited to certain material or aesthetic properties.

The primary reason behind food packaging is to maintain the safety, and quality of food.

Following EPA guidelines, choosing the right materials, and reviewing the expectations of packaging (concerning environmental benefits) allow minimising the wastage. The efforts are taken by the government, consumers, and industry to promote improvements in the Food Industry.

(The author is founder and CEO of Equinox Labs)
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