7 Benefits and costs of food packaging
In previous chapters the benefits of food packaging to small-scale food processors have been described in detail. To summarise, these benefits include:
- improved protection for the food and an increased shelf-life,
- better quality products reaching the consumer,
- more attractive products to compete with other manufacturers,
- easily identifiable products for consumers to select from retail shops,
- sometimes re-usable containers,
- tamperproof packages reduce the risk of adulteration,
- making foods more easily handled and stored by retailers and consumers,
- increased production output as a longer shelf-life enables a larger market to be found and year round production possible.
However there are also a number of costs associated with the introduction or improvement of food packaging in a process. In some cases these costs may be higher than the other production costs combined and it is therefore important for a producer to weigh up the costs involved and find out whether the likely benefits to be gained are worthwhile.
This chapter aims to assist extension agents and producers to do this by first describing the various costs in more detail. It then gives a simple example of how to calculate packaging costs.
The main costs associated with the introduction of packaging to a small scale business are as follows:
- changes to existing production facilities and processing techniques
- purchase of equipment and costs of depreciation
- additional working capital required
- additional labour required
- higher operating costs, including the cost of packaging materials