Food awareness is growing. This awareness includes being cognizant of what we eat, where it comes from, what ingredients it contains, and how it affects our bodies and our environments, and making purchase choices based on those factors. But how often do we consider the packaging of the food? Boxes, bags, wraps and trays, among other items, are an important component of the food awareness spectrum. According to a recent study, 52 percent of people worldwide base purchase decisions partially due to packaging that exhibits social and environmental consciousness.
Indeed, food packaging has an impact on the environment. In 2011, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that food waste worldwide was at about 1.3 billion tons yearly; one of their recommendations was to improve food packaging methods and materials. Properly designed and used, each pound of plastic packaging can reduce food waste by up to 1.7 pounds. Additionally, recyclable materials greatly reduce the amount of solid waste sitting in landfills. Thankfully, over 60 percent of the U.S. population has access to a plastics recycling program in their area.
What about food safety? Each year roughly 48 million Americans gets sick from foodborne diseases. How does packaging fit in to food safety? Usually defined in terms of food hazards that result in illness, food safety may refer to chemical or microbiological contaminations, but also the adequacy of the food, based on shelf life, condition of the packaging, and other factors.
Needless to say, the quality of primary packaging is crucial to safety, adequacy, and environmental impact of food. One of the most durable and safe materials for things like ready made plastic trays and food packaging containers is thermoform packaging. Used for a wide range of applications, thermoformed packaging is found in the food service industry, medical field, and toy manufacturing industry, among many others. From custom designed trays to plastic clamshell trays, lidding, medical kits and more, thermoform containers are everywhere.
One reason thermoform has such a wide range of applications is because it can be made with a variety of materials that have different strengths or features. Depending on the materials, potential strengths include resistance to hot or cold temperatures, flame retardancy, resistance to impact, ability to withstand harsh chemicals, and more. Custom ready made plastic trays are used as packaging for items, or for protection or organization during shipping. They are also often used on-site as permanent storage for items within a warehouse or factory.
Some additional benefits of ready made plastic trays include the following:
?A longer lifespan than many alternative materials so there is less waste
?Lightweight, reducing shipping costs overall and increasing convenience to the customer
?Lower tooling costs and rapid production mean the packaging is ready to use sooner
?Don?t fade or rust
?Easy to clean
Product packaging, even the simple necessity of ready made plastic trays or sterile vacuum pouches, has to be of the same high quality of the product it contains. It needs to protect the product, as well as be visually appealing and practical in shape and design. That?s why one of the best benefits of thermoform packaging and trays is that they can be custom fitted to the product. Keep in mind that other materials, such as inks, labels, and adhesives used in additional packaging may have their own issue to consider, but with high quality, custom fitted ready made plastic trays and thermoform packaging, a good deal of safety and environmental concerns are covered.
For food safety especially, thermoform packaging helps ensure safe quality food and reduced waste.