From condiments to fresh meats, frozen vegetables to dried pasta, plastic food packaging comes in many different forms and serves various purposes. The benefits of plastic food packaging go beyond a simple container used to ship and store products. With today’s advanced technology and the growing need for more eco-friendly and sustainable solutions, plastic food packaging has come a long way. Not only does plastic allow food to be stored in numerous locations and climates, but it also helps to keep consumers safe, preserve food quality and even reduce waste.
With foods being imported from various parts of the globe to your neighborhood grocery store, there is a growing concern over how fresh the foods remain upon arriving on the store shelves. By packaging foods in plastic, the products keep food fresh through travel and storage. Fresh produce, beverages and even dairy products can remain fresh in plastic packaging even when transported long distances, ensuring consumers are safe from bacteria and foodborne illness.
Besides keeping food safe from bacteria and spoilage, plastic packaging helps to preserve food quality, as well. Freezer bags, for example, protect foods against freezer burn and ice crystals. Plastic packaging also works as a barrier against negative effects on food quality caused by exposure to moisture or oxygen. By keeping food protected and sealed in plastic packaging, flavors, textures and other quality components remain preserved.
Today’s consumers are often concerned with many foods’ shelf lives, as foods that stay fresher for longer periods of time are more convenient options that can also help reduce food costs. New technology in plastic packaging, such as multilayer package applications, help prolong the shelf life of foods such as beer, ketchup and milk. Many foods, including cooked poultry and baked goods, require a controlled carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio that maintains freshness. Modified atmospheric packages keep such ratios at optimum levels to extend shelf life.
The combination of increased safety, food quality and shelf life that is made possible through plastic food packaging contributes to a decrease in overall food waste. Keeping food fresher for longer reduces the amount of food that is thrown out simply because it sit on the shelves for too long. Higher quality in food also reduces waste, as plastic packaging preserves foods’ quality and eliminates the need to throw out food due to flavor loss or change in texture.
As plastic technology continues to advance, our food will continue to improve while keeping consumer happy and healthy.