In many states, especially in the South, food production and manufacturing is one of the top industries driving the economy. The United States is a huge supplier of the world’s food and as such spends a lot of time shipping food from state to state or country to country. As better and faster methods of shipping have developed, better and more secure packaging options have also become available. Because food must be protected from physical, chemical, and biological contact, the shipping of food products requires special attention.
Most food packaging comes in specific standard packaging types. One of these is called aseptic processing. This type of packaging might be used to ship and store fruit juice, gravy, or liquid whole eggs. The goal of aseptic processing is to transport sterile foods in a sterile package that maintains the quality and sterility of the product. Plastic trays are another type of food packaging. This type of packaging is usually used to ship things like meat, poultry, and fish. You probably see them every time you go to the grocery store and walk past the meat section. The most common type of packaging is obviously a box. There are many different shapes and sizes from cereal boxes to boxes of soda to boxes of tissue. Cans are another very common type of packaging. Cans are great for food that will be stored for long periods of time because they are air tight and extremely protective. Flexible packaging, things like bagged salads and frozen vegetables, is another type of protective packaging.
Food packaging should have several important functions. First and the most basic, it should physically protect the food from damage as a result of shock, vibration, or temperature. It should also employ a method for containment, especially if the product has several different kinds of small items within the primary packaging. Food packaging should also offer some kind of barrier protection from dust, water vapor, oxygen, or whatever it is designed for. If the product is designed for a long shelf life, the barrier protection should ensure that the contents can be stored for that period of time while still retaining their freshness and safety. Something that also retains safety should be any of the security features of the package. Most food products are designed with some type of tamper resistant or tamper-evident feature to inform consumers when a product has been opened or tampered with.
The products that keep our food safe have been developed with careful research and trial and error. Thanks to these developments, you can rest assured that the food you bought at the store is safe and fresh.