Food packaging is defined as a organize system of preparing food for transport, distribution, storage, retailing, and end-use to assuage the eventual consumer with optimal cost. The World Packaging Organization (WPO) calculates that because of poor packaging more than 25% of foods are wasted. Thus, it is clear that proper packaging can lower the huge amount of food waste.
Paper, Paperboard, and Printed fibreboard:
Most cereals are store in paper-based materials that are made from wood fibers. Micro flute corrugated paperboards have exclusive features including good strength properties, excellent shock absorbing ability, good aesthetic appearance, environmental advantages, and distinctive print characteristics. White board is applicable for contact with food and is often cover with low density polyethylene (LDPE), poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC), or wax. It is used for snack, chocolate, and frozen food cartons. Different types of cereal based products are store in paper based materials. The major products contain weaning foods and breakfast cereals.
Flexible plastic films have been used for storing of cereals in single packaging or multi-serving size packages with other packaging materials. Biaxial oriented films are extensively used, as it has property of toughness (against puncture and abrasion) and clarity, and is rendered heat sealable by co extrusion or coating with polyolefin copolymers. Films are also laminated with other polymers or aluminum to improve the barrier properties or to transmit heat seal property. Other films include: LDPE/LLDPE films, High Molecular High Density Polyethylene films. Laminates made from BOPP/LDPE, Cast Polypropylene (CPP)/LDPE, Polyester/ LDPE are used in few branded commodities. Although laminates are important for costly commodities like Basmati rice where the flavour retention of the product is very essential. Major cereal products store in plastic films are rice, flour etc.
Metal containers have been rarely used for cereals and cereal products due to they are expensive, although their perfect gas barrier properties, convenience, and extreme strength. Aluminium cans are most frequently used. Many products are easily affected by sunlight, which change their appearance and depress their taste. Aluminium has the ability to solve this problem in the best way possible that is why it is generally regarded as the ideal core of packaging material for food. Aluminium is non-toxic, so it does not change the quality of foods store in it, but instead protects them. Most frequently packed cereal based goods in aluminium cans is Malted milk powder.
Cereals are sold-out generally in bulk quantities. The obligation for bulk packaging are therefore, most essential for these products. Cereals are store in plastic bags without the box. This technique is generally used for bulk volumes of cereal that make a large box impractical. The bags do not give the same safety from crushing impacts, but they give ease to the consumer, because the bag can gradually be concise to a smaller size as the amount of cereal it holds decreases. The packaging materials used for bulk packing of cereals are as follows:
• Jute Bags
• Woven sacks made out of high density polyethylene or polypropylene
• Multiwall paper Sacks
One of the most significant forms of cereal storing or packaging is a box that includes a plastic or waxed bag on the inner side to hold the cereal. Apart from the large, flat area that is accessible on the outside for advertorial, the outer box serves two other functions. The 1st is that the cardboard will eliminate extra moisture that can be come across during transport, keeping the cereal crisp. The 2nd is to provide protection to the grains from physical damage by absorbing shock to the box, keeping the shape of the cereal inner side.
Vacuum-sealed cereal packaging:
Vacuum-sealed cereal packaging, generally made up cover materials, provides tightly sealed conditions for the grains. The solid block of cereal is more resistant to damage and naturally resist moisture, which cannot permeate the vacuum. However this method is expensive to use, and is mostly used for fresh cereals that contains freeze-dried ingredients such as fruits.
Recent advances Cereals Packaging:
The changing of the air in a container with a different gas or a combination of gases is called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The most frequently used gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2). MAP and CA are often used for processing commodities such as cereals of all kinds and cereal based goods to protect against microorganisms. The main gas used in CA of grains is usually CO2 although propane combustion gases were also used energetically. Gas absorption by cereal grains was lowered continuously with increasing temperature. Aside from CA, MAP was another promising alternative in terms of following gas composition: 2% O2 (or less), and MA of N2-CO2: 80/20, 70/30. Combination of MA with active packaging or preservative(s) led to even more promising results depending on the preservation temperature.
Francine Farine an UK based company changed the packaging of wheat flour from normal packaging eco can packaging. The body of the package is made from fully coated recycled board, heat-sealed on top of white-lined chipboard and bleached kraft inner liner. The reclosable lid is made from Ensocoat (high-end graphical board) and the bottom from polymer coated board.
Dole Foods is introducing an innovative product called Take Away that combines chopped salad mix with a packet of whole grains and seeds, along with a dressing or salsa to drizzle on top. It contains a mixture of seeds, nuts, dried corn and roasted soy nuts and different variety of grains. There are six types including vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Store in a leak proof, resalable container for conducive consumption on the go.