Food is one of the pillars that drive survival, the very way that food has become available for us in the 21st century is revolutionary when one things about it. No longer do we need to hunt and gather our food like our ancestors did — in fact, there are even meals that require little to no cooking, making it easier than ever to survive. With popularity of mass produced food comes the need to properly package, store, and transport said goods. The global market for flexible packaging is expected to grow at an average rate of 3.4% annually between 2015 and 2020, eventually reaching $248 billion — this is in large part thanks to mass produced food. Food packaging occupies over 70% of the global consumer flexible packaging market: here are three reasons why food producers rely on these packages.
Pound for pound, plastic makes a perfect material for mass produced food. Just two pounds of plastic can deliver 1,300 ounces, roughly 10 gallons of a beverage — in order to do the same thing with aluminum, one would need 3 pounds. Plastics have been favored since as early as the 1970s when bottles and containers began to be produced using high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The HDPE packages quickly replaced the heavier metal, glass, and paper packages at the time and became the industry standard due to its cheapness, easiness to clean, and recyclability. Many modern manufacturers prefer plastics due to the option for custom packaging; this can help a product stand out on store shelves and offer further convenience to the customer.
Creating a Safer Product For the Consumer
One of the primary concerns for those who participate in the food industry is the very real threat of contamination. Someone with an allergy could be exposed via cross-contamination; unclean or unsealed products could become a breeding ground for bacteria; a product may have been tampered with dangerously. Each day there are over 1,100 emergency calls regarding young children who got in a package that proved toxic. Plastic container manufacturers are committed to making safer products that discourage bacteria development and help keep children safe with tamper-proof packaging. Many food manufacturers prefer plastic packaging manufacturers because they feel better able to offer a safe product for the consumer at a reasonable cost to them.
Gentler on the Environment
Headlines over the past few years have lead many to consider the impact major industries are causing on the environment. In response, many companies are switching to greener alternatives to production, which in turn make the consumer feel more comfortable with supporting a product committed to the environment. Recovery by recycling is the highest for the containers and packing category of all industries in the United States; plastics are leading this charge. Up to 100% of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging can be made from recycled PET; the best part is the fact that this material can be recycled over and over again. Expert analysts in the packaging field estimate that for every pound of plastic food packaging recycled, we can reduce food waste by up to 1.7 pounds. For a more gentle approach to the environment, consider plastic food packaging as the green alternative.