Food Packaging – What Options Are There For You?

An important part of the design process for any product is creating the special packaging that surrounds that product and just about every item needs at least some packaging. Materials for packaging come in several forms including plastic, paper, cardboard and some other metal-type materials. Read on for more information about the basics of packaging.

Perhaps you often hear of people saying that they bought soup or chili packaged in a tin can whereas in reality, these are not cans made from tin at all. It has been a practice for several decades now that canned items including vegetables, soups and sauces are actually packaged in cans produced from aluminum. Although tinplate steel was once the material, since the late 1950s it has been aluminum that is commonly used for canned goods.

Put aluminum alongside tinplate steel and you’ll find it with more advantages starting with it being less costly and can be made easier though it still resists corrosion. This is the metal that is the most abundant type on Earth. In addition, aluminum can be recycled an infinite amount of times to create new cans and products. In fact, about two-thirds of all aluminum ever produced is still being re-used today. This number would be higher if people would simply remember to place aluminum into their recycling bins.

By observation you may note that the most common packaging material being used is plastic of all sorts. Note that even those packaged in boxes made of cardboard or any other containers still utilize plastic inside the boxes such as the sealed bags that hold products like crackers or cereals. There are actually seven basic types of plastic that might be used for packaging and each is identified by a special number code. You’ve probably seen these numbers on the packaging.

Since plastic materials of all types are the most commonly used material in food packaging you might as well be familiar with the one responsible for holding liquid products like water and soda and that called polyethylene terephthalate. Another type, the high-density polyethylene is what makes other types of plastic bottles, milk jugs, plastic bags and containers for storing food. As for other plastic packaging products like that handy plastic wrap, plastic grocery bags and those rings that hold a six-pack of soda together, these items were made using low-density polyethylene.

These plastics are transformed into products through a process known as thermoforming. Large, thin sheets of plastic are heated to a specific temperature and then forced into molds either using injection molding or vacuum forming. Once the plastic has cooled, the excess plastic is trimmed away and recycled to make new thermoformed products. The finished product is then removed from the mold.

Lenna Stockwell enjoys writing about how stuff is made. For further information about product packaging design solutions, or to find out more about custom plastic packaging options, please visit the website now.