Packaging Materials Used in the Food Industry

Man holding a stack of takeaway foods in various packaging materials.

The amount of food products available for consumers of the modern-day is simply mind-boggling. There are so many options, and the list of products keeps growing. Your local supermarket has thousands more food products for sale than it did a few years ago, and that number goes up and up.

But all these food products need packaging. Very few items of food come without packaging — mostly loose vegetables and fruits. That means if you are a food supplier, you’ll need to be thinking about your options for packaging. In this blog, we look at the types of packaging materials used in the food industry, what their benefits are, and how you can integrate them into your business.

Cardboard Packaging in the Food Industry

When it comes to the types of packaging materials used in the food industry, you’ll find cardboard is a cut above the rest. The most commonly used material by suppliers, it has gained prevalence in the market thanks to a combination of affordability, versatility and desirability.

Compared to many other materials, cardboard is very cheap to manufacture and produce, which keeps costs down. It is also a very desirable form of packaging as there are many more options for recycling and sustainable use as compared to other types of packaging material.

What really draws food suppliers in though, is the versatile nature of the product.

Offering robust exterior protection and sturdy design, cardboard is an excellent solution for transit and storage. It also incredibly flexible in terms of build potential, which means it can be produced in many different forms to suit unique food industry needs. For example, cardboard forms boxes of all sizes and shapes, as well as trays, crates and more. Whatever your food industry packaging needs, cardboard is a material that can offer a solution.

Finally, cardboard is a fantastic packaging material for printing designs, logos and product information. You’ll notice most products in the food industry feature cardboard in some form, even if it is just to supply information. This is because cardboard is very easy to print on, compared to other packaging materials. When looking to add branding or essential product information, cardboard is your best solution.

However, cardboard isn’t the only answer. Sometimes it isn’t appropriate as packaging, especially for freshly cooked food or goods that are wet and oily. Specialised cardboard packaging material does exist for short-term solutions to these issues — such as for takeaway food. But it isn’t an option for long-term use. So what other types of packaging materials are used in the food industry?

Aluminum Packaging in the Food Industry

Aluminium is a popular choice for food packaging, particularly for fresh produce. This is because it creates a cool and dry environment that helps keep food at its best for longer. Unlike traditional cardboard, it is not absorptive. While that isn’t great for visual designs, it is essential for moist or oily food products, especially when stored long term.

You’ll often find aluminium packaging used for fresh meat, fruits and vegetables, as well as some frozen goods. The benefit of this metallic packaging material is it is also very durable, which ensures products remain intact.

Plastic Packaging Materials in the Food Industry

The popularity of plastic is taking a dramatic downward turn. Once the darling of the food industry, brands are seeing increasing pressure to reduce their plastic use and switch to more sustainable options.

But that doesn’t mean you have to rule out plastics completely. At Packaging Supplies, we offer bioplastic solutions that allow you to take advantage of the benefits of plastic without the negative environmental impacts that come hand-in-hand with traditional plastics. When it comes to food storage and packaging, this creates a win-win situation.

Why? Because for those in the food industry, plastic as a packaging material is an incredibly valuable resource, primarily if you supply drinks, smoothies or sauces. Cheap, easy to use, and often safer than glass, plastics are your best option for the storage and packaging of liquids and many fresh goods. They keep your products sealed and airtight in a way other products don’t allow, maintaining quality, freshness and ensuring they are safe to consume. Plastics are also lightweight, which makes them easy to transport, and they are tough, which is important when avoiding things like leaks and spillages.

There are many reasons plastics will remain a type of packaging material used by the food industry. However, they don’t have to be unsustainably sourced plastics. There are options for new and more environmentally-friendly solutions to your packaging material needs. Packaging Supplies can help you with that.

Discover more about the types of packaging materials and food packaging boxes used in the food industry, and how we can provide you with all your packaging supply needs, by getting in touch with our team!