food traceability guide

Food packing & processing


In a competitive landscape like the food industry, it is important to get the packaging right. This isn’t just for practicality, but to keep a competitive edge on busy supermarket shelves. Here, Debra Weiss explains what type of packaging manufacturers should be looking for, what types should be avoided, and how best to keep ahead of the pack…

food packing
food packing

Whether it’s your favourite chocolate or those free time snacks, it is the packaging that attracts you first. Food packaging not only makes a product stands out on the shelf but it also protects them from chemical, physical and environmental factors that can contaminate them. Therefore it is important to know the right packaging types and to follow the latest packaging trends to stay competitive.

Why is food packaging so important?

Packaging preserves food quality as well as attracts customers. Most customers are likely to judge the food quality from the package. While the primary role of food packaging is to contain a portion of food, here are some other key benefits:

Protection: Packaging companies design a unique package that can be ideal for the type of food. Companies conduct a lot of research to get the best ideas for useful packages that can protect the product from chemical reactions, light, and dust. Improper food packaging affects the quality and taste of a product.

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Packaged foods are free from contamination and they support the shelf life of a food product.

Transportation: There are diverse types of food packaging around us, from cans, bags, and boxes to bottles. The food products are packed in these containers so that they remain safe during transportation.

food packing
food packing

There are hundreds of products on supermarket shelves so it’s important that your brand stands out to consumers.

Influencing consumer purchasing habits: The colours and style of your food packaging play a vital role in influencing the consumer’s buying decision. After all, the brain reacts to colours in different ways, so choose your packaging colours wisely. For example, white packaging conveys simplicity and purity, making them great for dairy products. Orange packaging stands for energy and fun, making them ideal for sports drink and summer beverages. Also, match colours and flavours, like yellow for bananas and red for apple. Fonts have also an important role to play. Make sure they are readable to your target audience.

Making your brand stand out: There are hundreds of products on the shelves of supermarkets so your product should capture a customer’s attention. Packaging helps with this as it differentiates your brand from similar products on the same shelf.

Product packaging is also a great marketing tool. From the label, logo to the shape of your food’s packaging, a customer can remember your brand next time they come to store. This way, packaging builds brand recognition.

How to choose the right food packaging

Which packaging goes well with your food products? Well, there are many types to choose, from glass, paper, corrugated to plastic. However, not all food packaging is the same. All have their benefits and some downsides as well.

You need to ponder over two key points while determining the right food packaging:

  1. The packaging should keep your specific food product safe
  2. It should catch the customer’s eye.

Being a savvy business, you want your food packaging right for environment and waste management practices as well but the harsh truth is a packaging material doesn’t tick all these boxes.

After all, they vary by certain properties which are determined by:

  • Material
  • Design
  • The type of food being packaged
  • Shelf-life
  • Environmental conditions
  • Ease of use
  • Disposal
  • Cost related to production and distribution.

In other words, every food packaging material has its traits. Some certain foods are likely to interact with some packaging types. Here are some key traits of major food packaging products:

food packing
food packing

Food packaging serves many purposes, from protecting the food to creating portion sizes to offer information on the product.

However, what is not well known about food packaging is the different types of packaging available. There are nine types, and are described below.

Aseptic Processing

This is for foods that are sterile and are to be maintained sterile. These items include liquid eggs, milk and milk product drinks, along with other foods that are processed and need to be preserved for longer periods of time. Aseptic packages are made of a mixture of paper, polyethylene, and aluminum and contain a tight inside layer of polyethylene. Sterile pharmaceuticals are mostly packaged in plastic or glass, such as syringes and vials.


This is mostly self-explanatory. Trays are what meats, plant seeds, and drinks can be carried in. They are mostly flat with raised edges to keep the product in place, and are made of various materials such as paperboard.


Like trays, bags are a common form of food packaging. Most commonly known are bagged snacks (chips, pretzels) and fruit (apples, potatoes). “Bagging” separates the food from the environment, namely the air.


Boxes are used for the most easy form of transportation of a food product. Most common materials found in boxes are metal, corrugated fiberboard, and wood. Frozen pizzas, cereals, and snack crackers are examples of foods packaged in boxes.


Cans are also an excellent way of preserving and transporting foods. Most cans are made of steel or other thin metal when found in stores, as well as glass jars when foods are canned in the home.


Boxes and cartons are oftentimes interchangeable. Like boxes, cartons are also made out of corrugated fiberboard and are used for transporting food. Within the food packaging type of cartons, there are four sub-categories. The most well-known is the egg carton which is molded to the shape of the egg to add protection while the food product is mobile. Aseptic cartons also lie in this category. Examples of this are milk, juice, and soup cartons. Another sub-category of cartons are the folding cartons, which begin as flat pieces of corrugated fiberboard and then assembled by the food manufacturer. Lastly, there are gable tops. These cartons usually hold milk or juice and require the gables at the top to be pinched then pulled in order to be opened.

Flexible packaging

Similar to bags, flexible packaging protects the food protect from the environment and create an adequate means of transporting foods. Bagged salad is a common food found in flexible packaging.


Pallets are used for mass transportation of a product. Boxes of the product are placed and stacked on the pallet, then wrapped to secure and decrease food movement.


Used for individual items, wrappers provide protection between the food and the environment or the food and a person’s hands. Candy bars are most commonly thought of.

Food Packaging

|Food Packing Process

food packing
food packing

Heat shrink food packaging

In heat shrink packaging, food is wrapped by a non-toxic film and conveyed into a specific heat shrink oven. The oven heat only affects the film to ensure it perfectly adheres to the product and protects it like a sort of second skin. The result is highly gratifying from the aesthetic standpoint and protects food against dust, humidity and external agents.

What is heat shrink food packaging indicated for: this solution is perfect for food with low liquid content or able to be preserved for several days; the most typical examples are bread and bakery products, pasta, fruit; even cheese and cold cuts that do not deteriorate quickly are products suited for this type of packaging.

Recommended food packaging machines:

  1. For small companies: for small bakeries and delicatessens, we recommend manual food packaging machines, such as SYNTHESIS INOX. These are compact, convenient, easy to use machines suited for occasional use.
  2. For medium size companies: in these cases we can focus on more powerful but always versatile food packaging machines like the semi-automatic machines in the MODULAR series. This solution provides the flexibility necessary to satisfy different workloads, guaranteeing aesthetically more beautiful results at an always convenient price.
  3. For large sized companies: extremely fast and accurate automatic food packaging machines, able to package large amounts of product are necessary for industrial activities. The PRATIKA series guarantees high performance and maximum efficiency for any packaging need.

food packing
food packing

Other solutions for bread and fruit

Before discussing vacuum packaging, we digress for a moment to discuss alternative solutions for bread and fruit packaging. In addition to shrink wrap machines, flexible packaging machines such as X-BAG, a vertical bagging machine, especially indicated for supermarkets, bakeries and green grocers, is efficiently used for these types of food. The strongest point of this food packaging machine is its versatility: in fact, X-BAG is able to use different types of film, meeting the sector's multiple needs.

food packing
food packing

Vacuum food packaging

Vacuum packaging fully eliminates oxygen in the product and package, creating an environment without air where aerobic organism proliferation is suppressed. This solution is thus perfect to guarantee long-term packaged product preservation. At the same time, vacuum packing preserves the aroma, flavour, fragrance and nutritional properties of food, maintaining their moisture and thus leaving them soft and juicy until consumed.

What is vacuum packing indicated for: this type of packaging is ideal for products with high liquid content or particularly perishable such as meat, fish, fresh cheese, fruit salads and heat-and-serve meals.

Recommended food packaging machines:

  1. For domestic use: SAVEVAC is the entry-level vacuum food packaging machine line, manual, compact machines powered by an external vacuum. The extremely small size does not jeopardise the excellent performance and durability of the packaging machine, made of stainless steel.
  2. For small and medium sized companies and restaurants: the most popular machines in these situations are chamber vacuum sealers, of which minipack®-torre produces both tabletop and trolley versions. The proposed solution range also includes food packaging machines able to print all the information concerning the vacuum packed product by printing labels.

food packing
food packing

  1. For large companies: for more demanding workloads, we recommend industrial food packaging machines, like those in the SWING series. These are high performance vacuum packaging machines where the moving packaging chamber closure guarantees extremely high operating speeds.

food packing
food packing

Food packaging machines specific for meat packaging: in conclusion, we mention a machine specifically designed to package meat, EVAC65. This automatic vacuum packaging machine is able to efficiently package medium and large sized products, requiring minimum labour. It is surely the perfect solution for processing labs that deal with large product quantities every day.

food packing
food packing