This is of great importance in food packaging made of plastic materialssince it would be very interesting to obtain materials that replace traditional ones, such as glass or metal, which are more complex to manage throughout the value chain.
Although it continues to develop, there is already a wide selection plastic bottles, for all applications and needs. The most common are:
- Containers: relatively deep containers, with or without a lid. Wide selection and use, in a consumer sales format. For solid food.
- Bottles and Jugs: Rigid containers with a round neck of smaller diameter than the body and capable of carrying a closure system. Variable capacity. For a drink.
- Jars: similar to bottles and jugs, but with a wider neck and generally for viscous or granular foods.
- Boxes: rigid containers composed of a base and four side walls, intended for storage and transport in the chain before reaching the consumer.
- Bag in a box: storage and transport of liquids, usually with a dispensing tap. For wholesale or retail, but with relatively large capacities. Common in wine and water.
- DoyPack: flexible containers, with a base designed to stand upright. Welded containers that have an extension for the mouth with a cap, for consumption of the product directly from the container and at the desired time.
- Detachable Containers: A tray or container sealed with foil, which isolates the contents but allows easy access. Innovations are carried out in the development of materials, additives and adhesives that enable the container to be opened and a new, more hermetic closure. Usually in the format of selling to the end consumer.
- Film and board: film is a continuous, thin layer of plastic material, of small thickness, which is used as packaging. When the thickness exceeds 250 µm, it is called a plate and has other uses, such as separation between fillets or bases for thermoforming. There is a type of film called shrink film that uses heat to adhere perfectly to the product.
- Flow pack: foil with one longitudinal and two transverse seals, forming a perfectly closed bag. Very often as primary or secondary packaging for snacks.
- Nets: containers made of crossed threads or plastic strips, with the function of retention and transport, since they do not isolate from the environment. It is closed with metal staples and is used for fruits and vegetables.
Each packaging design It is designed for the type of product, trying to maintain its properties in optimal conditions and, in addition, to facilitate handling and use. The most important thing is to choose one or another format based on the purpose.
However, for him food packaging Aesthetics is also of great importance, as it is one of the qualities most valued by consumers; It is even necessary to control the transparency or brightness of materials above their functionality or physical-mechanical characteristics.
Versatility plastic bottles facilitates handling and product storagein addition to allowing a greater variety of designs, without the need for additional elements, such as sleeves.
Control over barrier properties of packaging, especially against oxygen and water vapor, is crucial in food packaging, since inadequate gas exchange between the inside and outside of the container can significantly reduce the shelf life of food, both from an organoleptic point of view and food safety.
There are foods that need to breathe a little during storage, such as mushrooms; while others, such as snacks, should be kept as isolated from the environment as possible. Depending on these requirements of the product to be packaged, the composition of the packaging material will have to be defined, choosing between single-layer or multi-layer, with optimized properties that enable proper gas exchange.
Current development is focused on development biodegradable materials with similar characteristics to those historically marketed, especially in terms of barrier properties. This represents a great challenge, given that the intrinsic characteristics of these materials are at the expense of other types of properties.
However, there is no doubt that the next development will go in this direction, reducing the importance of aesthetic properties, another drawback of these materials, and taking into account, to a greater extent, the environmental impact caused.
* Aimplas food contact and packaging department.