How to Package Food Products for Sale
Last Updated on June 22, 2022, by Andrew Lightstead 7 mins well spent
Regardless of what you like to eat, there are high chances that you get your food or its ingredients in some sort of packaging from the store.
Without proper food packaging, food items can hardly last a week. Therefore, learning how to package food products is very important. Thanks to this guide, it is going to be a very easy task.
In this article, you will learn about the importance of good food packaging, which is actually more than what you might have imagined. You will also know how to create food packaging that is effective as well as cheap.
Therefore, without any delay, let us dive into the topic right away:
Why do you need a good food packaging design?
One of the primary reasons for food packaging is the storage of food items. In fact, the whole process was invented for this very purpose. Food items can rot if they are left in the open, and food packaging can protect this from happening.
Other than that, the transportation of food items also creates the need for a good food packaging design. Without proper packaging, food can become spoiled and contaminated even before it reaches the end-user.
In the last century, food packaging has also become the medium through which brands convey their marketing message to customers. Through food packaging, customers get to know about the company that created the ite.
Lastly, packaging is the only way through which information like ingredients list and expiry date can be known to the customer.
What Makes a Food Package Correct and Effective?
In order to ensure that your packaging method is right on the spot, you need to follow the below checklist:
The food items you sell will be on the shelf with other competing products. Customers are going to buy what catches their eye, so you should make sure that the packaging you use can catch the attention of potential customers.
Provides Useful Information About Product
A good food package should provide information like manufacturing date, expiry date, ingredient list, and more. Providing this information to the customer isn’t only a good practice, it is actually mandated by the law.
In order to find out what information you require on your packaging labels, you can consult the law organization that applies to you.
Convey Brand Message
Every brand has its own branding strategy and brand identity. They want their customers to know what their brand is all about, and this is done through food packaging. Connecting your customers with your brand message can turn occasional customers into regular consumers of your food products.
For certain food items, consumers like to get a sneak peek into the item itself without opening the packaging materials. For these products, transparent food packaging can be a product showcase in itself.
The primary packaging materials that you use are going to spend time with your food item directly for as long as the item is in storage. Therefore, good food packaging should ensure that the packaging materials do not chemically react with the food products.
During transportation, food products can face bumps and rugged shocks. Therefore, the secondary packaging and tertiary packaging should be strong enough to handle the transportation load on the food item. If these packaging materials and methods aren’t strong enough, it can ruin the integrity of the food products.
What are the Most Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Food Packaging for Your Product?
If you are confused between different packaging methods or wondering what should you evaluate before choosing the right packaging method, these factors can help you:
Budget is the primary constraint regardless of what food sector you operate in. There are a lot of packaging methods for every food item, and every packaging method comes with the option of various food packaging materials. Calculate your budget to narrow down the possible fit.
Remember that in order to make a profit on the sale of food products, you will have to compensate the budget of packaging in the selling price. Food packaging is a part of food production costs itself.
Type of Packaging Material:
The packaging material is one of the most important factors that determines the quality of packing. Materials like aluminum for canned packing are very rugged. Materials like glass are aesthetic and chemically inert, but they can break easily.
In recent decades, polyethylene has become a primary material for packaging. However, it is very harmful to the environment due to its non-biodegradable nature.
Food packaging design is another factor that requires careful consideration when creating food packaging for your product.
For some products, tried and tested designs work well. However, certain products like gourmet food items focus on unique and modern designs for catching the consumer’s attention.
Weight and Volume:
End consumers seek food items in commonly sold sizes, so it is a good idea to provide your food items in these common sizes. A good thing to focus on is to use the measuring units that apply to your geography.
For instance, in the US, the imperial units are fairly common (pound, ounce, gallons, yards, etc.) and metric units are used in the rest of the world (meter, gram, and liter).
The main fallacy of many food packing methods is that they use too much or too little of the material. Too much material leads to wastage of resources and costs, and too little material can expose the products inside. Therefore, make sure you use the right size of packaging.
Effect on Shelf Life and Food Safety:
Products like milk, vegetables, and meats have a short shelf life. However, other food products such as cereals can be on the shelf for months. Therefore, the packaging you use should be suitable to endure the entire duration on the shelf.
Not only that, but the packaging also has to ensure food safety. Materials like plastic packaging, polyethylene, corrugated cardboard, and paper can chemically react with a food product in some cases.
The packaging you choose will be a part of the production costs of the food product. Therefore, the packaging you choose should still keep the final price of your food product low and comparable to the competition.
Ease of Use:
Many people in the food industry forget about ease of use when they chase cool, eye-catching designs. Consumers don’t like packaging that requires tools or a lot of manual labor. The packaging you use should be easy to open and use.
Universal Product Code:
It is important to provide a Universal Product Code (UPC) on your product. UPC is generally a barcode that the retail counters can scan with a reader. UPC helps in ease of billing as it can automatically generate the price, amount, and information of the product in the billing.
FDA Compliance for Packaging and Labelling
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of requirements that every food manufacturer should follow when it comes to packaging. Make sure that the process you use follows these compliance regulations to the word. Any deviation from these rules can result in legal violations for you.
The information that you provide on the food should be mainly available in the following locations:
Principal Display Panel
Principal Display Panel (PDP) is the front area of the packaging. This is what the consumer will lay their eyes on first. It must have the name of the product and its net weight.
Information Panel is present on the right side of the Principal Display Panel. It should contain the details of the manufacturer, distributor, OR packer. You might have seen this on food products with tags such as ‘Distributed by’ or ‘Marketed by’.
Next the information panel requires the list of ingredients. One thing to note is that the list of ingredients should be in decreasing order of amount of ingredient used. The ingredients with the highest quanitity will be listed first.
You also need to list the nutrients that are present in your food product. It is compulsory to mention at least the five core nutrients- Protein, Calories, Total Carbohydrates, Sodium, Fats. You can check the detailed nutrients labeling guide to learn more.
If your food product contains any allergens, it is mandatory to mention them on the food packaging. There are eight common ingredients in food products that should always be mentioned if they are used: eggs, milk, peanuts, soybean, crustaceous shellfish, fish, wheat, and tree nuts.
The Three Types of Food Packaging
When packaging your food for sale, there are three types of food packaging that you have to focus on. Each of these types has a different purpose and a different method.
Primary packaging is directly in touch with the food item. Its purpose is to make sure that the food doesn’t get contaminated with germs, environmental factors such as air and moisture, or other contaminants. This flexible packaging is directly in touch with the food item.
Examples of primary packaging include food containers, candy wrappers, tin cans for frozen food, beverage plastic material bottles, etc. The end consumer will remove the primary packaging to consume the product.
Primary packaging is the most important place when it comes to marketing for the food product. You will find all the food and brand information on the primary packaging itself.
Secondary packaging is used to store multiple units of food products in retail stores and shelves. The purpose of secondary packaging is to organize various primary units together.
Secondary packaging is usually removed inside the store itself when a consumer is purchasing single primary units. Secondary packaging protects the products from bumps or alterations.
Secondary packaging is also employed for marketing purposes, especially when it comes in the form of cardboard and paper cartons.
Tertiary packaging is done for the transportation of food from food manufacturers and food processor companies to the wholesaler and retailers. This type of packaging is almost never seen by the end consumer.
Since the purpose of tertiary packaging is only transportation and as it is not used by the consumer, there is little to no marketing effort done on the tertiary packaging. Example of tertiary packaging includes big cardboard boxes and pallets.
Packaging food for sale is one of the most important things to focus on as someone who has invested in the food and beverage industry.
Packaging is what protects your food as well as your brand identity. Therefore, examine the guidelines provided here very closely to make the most out of your packaging process.
If you want some of the best food packaging machines in the industry, you can check the various products provided by Pwrpack. These machines come with industry-leading specs, and can handle whatever you throw at them!