Investing in food packaging machinery can be expensive and confusing with an array of options available for different needs. Plastic food packaging can play a significant role in products attractiveness, cost, environmental friendliness and other issues. In fact, food waste can be reduced by over 1.7 pounds for every pound of plastic packaging, according to packaging experts.
Vertical form fill seal machines, which are often used in food packaging assembly lines, are usually used with continuous flat rolls of plastic film with artwork and labeling already printed or applied to the inside or outside of the plastic film. Food safety is, of course, of utmost concern and many of these vertical form fill seal machines also allow for x-ray of the product to detect unwanted bone or other hazards in the product. In fact, x-rays can detect items of 1.5mm or even less and metal detectors can identify items between 2.5 and 3.5mm in wet or conductive products. Food metal detectors can detect all three types of possible metal contaminants, namely stainless steel, non-ferrous and ferrous. This means companies can be assured of food safety and brand protection. Given that over 148 million people representing about 60% of the U.S population have access to plastic recycling facilities, plastic food packaging can also make environmental sense.
From a business perspective, plastic packaging is often economical too. So for example, roughly 10 gallons or 1,300 ounces of juice, soda, water or another beverage can be delivered suing just two pound of plastic. To do the same in aluminum would require three pounds of packaging, steel over eight pounds, and glass over 40 pounds of material. Improvements in technologies and processes have meant that items are getting lighter and using less material. The two-liter soft drink bottle for example now weighs just 47 grams, whereas in 1977 it weighed roughly 68 grams.
Food can last three to five times longer if vacuum sealed. Keeping food cold also cuts down on harmful bacteria, so food products should be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower if refrigerated or at zero degrees if frozen. Post packaging storage and distribution then is also very important. With new packaging options and technologies becoming available, food manufacturers have an array of options to suit every need.