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ResourcesFood Packaging Materials: Safety, Savings & Sustainability

When it comes to the specialty foods industry, safety is always a huge priority. But food safety is not just something to consider during the production process. Food packaging also plays a huge part in keeping foods safe and secure for consumers. And, of course, these days, consumers not only expect their food to be safe, they also are searching for sustainable packaging. At Indepak, we can provide you with safe and sustainable options for your specialty food products.

FDA-Approved Materials

While we use many thermoform food safe packaging materials at Indepak, not all of them are approved for use as food packaging. Fortunately, we have several excellent choices. For instance, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be used to create bottles for beverages, single-serving trays, microwavable meals and much more. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) also can be used for many specialty food products, and we often see HDPE used to contain liquids such milk and juice.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) also is approved by the FDA for food contact and this material often is used to create plastic films, as well as those handy squeeze bottles that hold condiments. Polypropylene (PP) is yet another material that is safe for food products, and can be used to create many different types of food containers, from single-serving yogurt pots to containers that you can reuse again and again. PP also offers a high melting point, which makes it suitable for food packaging that will be heated in the microwave.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging

As we talk about savings, it’s not just about saving you money with affordable packaging solutions, although that certainly is one of our top priorities. In this article, however, we are talking about “saving” food. Food waste is a huge problem throughout the world, but food packaging can help preserve and protect foods, making them last longer for consumers.

Modified atmosphere packaging, or MAP, is a fantastic option for any specialty foods manufacturer selling fresh meats, deli meats, poultry, fish, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh pastas and much more. MAP works by removing the oxygen inside a package and replacing it with other gases that help to increase shelf life and preserve food. Not only does this increase shelf life, MAP allows you to expand your market to destinations far away from your production facility.

In addition to MAP, creating containers with lids is another option that can help consumers save food. After a portion has been used, consumers can simply replace the lid and save the rest for consumption at later time. We can create many types of tubs and containers with lids to make it easier for your customers to quickly store their food.

Packaging Sustainability

While quality, convenience and affordability typically rank as a consumer’s top concerns when purchasing a food product, sustainability is becoming more and more important. If given a choice between two comparable food products, many consumers will purchase the product with the most natural ingredients or the most sustainable packaging. At Indepak, we offer a variety of sustainable options for your food packaging.

Some of the FDA-approved materials we mentioned earlier in this article can be used in recycled form. “Virgin” PET and recycled PET both are suitable for food packaging, which means you can create packaging partially or completely with recycled materials.

Recycled HDPE is not approved for food packaging, but, along with PET, HDPE is accepted by virtually all recycling programs in the U.S., so these two options are extremely easy for consumers to recycle by simply tossing the used packaging into their curbside recycling bin.

Since 2013, recycled PP also has been approved for use in food packaging. Recycled LDPE typically is not approved for use as food packaging, although some LDPE/PP blends are allowed by the FDA. We commonly use PET, HDPE and PP to produce custom packaging, and are able to use some starch-based bioplastics, as well.

For more than 50 years, Indepak has been producing quality food packaging, and we are happy to create custom packaging solution that meets your needs and budget, while keeping factors such as safety, shelf life and sustainability in mind. If you have any questions, give us a call or send us an email today.

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