|Appropriate Food Packaging (Tool)|
|1 Food and packaging|
Good packaging serves two purposes are essentially technical and presentational.
Technical changes in packaging aim to extend the shelf-life of the product by better protecting the food from all the hazards it will meet in storage, distribution and use. Changing from one type of plastic bag to another for example may mean that less moisture from the atmosphere is absorbed into the food so extending the shelf-life. Making the bag re-closable in addition would mean that the customer could keep the food in good condition for forger in the home. If shelf-life is extended then it may be possible to market the product over a bigger area so increasing sales
Presentational aspects of packaging do not actually do anything to make the food keep longer or in better condition. Such packaging increases sales by creating a brand image that the buyer instantly recognises. It also aims to appeal to the customer in terms of shape, size, colour, convenience, etc.
The ultimate aim of good packaging is increased sales against any competition and thus improved income for the producer. This cannot be achieved without a cost. It is not only the direct cost of the packaging material that needs to be considered but other changes such as different processing systems, purchase of fillers, staff training, etc.
The small and medium-scale food manufacturer considering improvements to their existing packaging system face difficult decisions that will need careful thought and investigation. One of the central problems is the impossibility of really knowing if the proposed changes will indeed result in increased sales that will have to be made to meet the costs involved. In addition, for most small producers, the choice is really not theirs but dictated by what kinds of packaging are locally available. In most cases it will not be possible to select the best type of package but only select the best of available alternatives.
Some of the positive and negative factors that need to be thought about are included in Table 1-1.
By how much will the shelf-life be extended?
Will food losses be reduced?
Can this result in a wider distribution, if so at what cost?
If returnable containers are used by how much will transport rise?
Will the new packaging give entry to a new area of the market?
How much more competitive will be product be?
How much will the new packaging raise the product's selling
Will new equipment be needed, at what cost?
Will staff need special training and higher pay?
Will special quality control measures have to be set up?
Will external experts need to be used?
Table 1-1: Positive and negative factors of packaging