Why is packaging so important in the food industry


Packaging, an essential in the food industry. Packaging plays a fundamental part when it comes to consuming, preserving, transporting and storing food.

In addition to being an essential in the food industry, a good packaging forms a series of intangible added values thanks to marketing.

Thus, packaging carries a series of benefits derived from the protection of the product and the advertising support it entails.

But not only that, nowadays the consumer is more aware than ever about the environment, so he does not hesitate to choose the food with the most sustainable packaging. Not much, not little. Just enough to justify the preservation of the product.

As you will see, packaging is much more than a wrapper in the food industry. That’s why today at OMS we tell you some keys to understanding why it is so important in this industry… Shall we start?


One packing, several functions

Why is packaging so important in the food industry? Without the right – and sufficient – packaging, food could become contaminated, spoil in the transport process… etc.

But not only that, the food sector is especially sensitive due to the nature of the product and that is why there are extensive regulations such as ISO 22000 to validate this type of packaging.

In short, the packaging provides an added value that allows you to consume food, which otherwise could not be purchased or consumed.

The food industry could not be conceived without packaging, which has the following objectives, and functions:

Physical protection against vibrations, shocks, pressure changes, temperature, bacteria… etc.

On the other hand, it also forms a protective barrier to prevent the action of oxygen, water vapor or dust on others.

It provides a key impermeability when it comes to preserving food, which allows perishable products to become non-perishable for a long period.

In short, the packaging ensures the integrity of the product. In addition, it must comply with the regulatory regulations according to the nature of the food.

  • Grouping of products: without a packaging it would be impossible to offer, for example, powdered foods such as spices.
  • Information: the packaging allows to offer information about the product or indications when, for example, its transportation.
  • Marketing: How many people see the packaging before reaching the final customer? There is a whole process in the life of the product where the packaging can be an advertising support without investing large resources.




Food: What are the types of packaging?

1.Primary: is in direct contact with the merchandise.

Examples: tetra-bricks, cans, trays or PE/PP bags.

2.Secondary: for the transport and handling of products that have the primary packaging.

Example: cardboard boxes of pizza, cereals… etc.

3.Tertiary: For the transport and handling of secondary packaging.

Example: Pallets or wrappers.

And you may be wondering… what are the most used packaging? To begin with the pallets, which must be properly treated and disinfected according to European regulations.

On the other hand, the heat-shrinkable transparent film allows food to be packaged economically and safely.

Polypropylene or polyethylene bags are in high demand, since their versatility in terms of size and presentation provides an effective packaging of products.

And complying with food safety with a food cartoning machine is very important to avoid legal problems.

Other common packaging:

  • Tubular meshes
  • Packaging paper
  • Adhesive tape for grouping

The most commonly used machines for packaging in the tertiary or secondary packaging line are:

  • Overwrapping Machine
  • Cartoning Machine
  • Wrap Around Sleever


The Principal Food Safety Measures for Packaging

In food safety issues there are a number of measures to consider in the packaging, since being the food sector the products must offer the consumer complete confidence and a full guarantee that they have been kept well protected.

In the food industry, it is not only about taking into account the food safety regulations that affect the preparation of the food itself. It is also necessary to comply with those that encompass all the external factors that intervene in your production chain. That is why it is very important that any surface or material that comes into contact with food follows a series of guidelines.

Food packaging is subject to periodic inspections and analyses in order to guarantee its safety along its entire logistics chain. The idea is not only to preserve the original state and characteristics of the food, but also to rigorously ensure that the packaging material does not transmit substances that could harm the product. For this it is essential to follow a process that complies with all food hygiene guarantees.


The legislation affecting packaging as a food safety measure

According to the Institutional Commission of AECOSAN (the Spanish Agency for food safety and nutrition) at a general level it is convenient to know the following regulations:

  • Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
  • Regulation (EC) 2023/2006, of 22 December, on good manufacturing practices for materials and articles that will come into contact with food

When we talk about these materials, we mean all those that are most commonly found on the market: adhesives, cork, rubber, paper and cardboard, regenerated cellulose, plastics, textile products, glass, metals and alloys, etc.

On the other hand, Regulation 852/2004 establishes that work teams must comply with the requirements for all articles, installations and equipment that come into contact with food products. Very briefly we could say that all of them should be properly cleaned and, if necessary, disinfected. At the same time, their preparation, composition and state of conservation must minimize the risk of contamination.

To ensure that all these measures are met, a very important certification is that of BRC Packaging (from the British Retail Consortium in collaboration with the IOP Packaging Institute), a safety and quality guide that provides all the conditions that packaging material suppliers and food manufacturers must ensure. Used in more than 80 countries, this certification is increasingly required, not only in the food industry, but also for manufacturers of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.


Other basic safety measures in the packaging

Food safety

The guide prepared by the Valencian Association of Plastics Entrepreneurs in collaboration with AIMPLAS, on good manufacturing practices for plastic materials and objects in contact with food describes some food safety measures to take into account.

With regard to plastic, within the general classification according to the risk of contamination, packaging material (pallets, outer packaging film, boxes and plastic bags for transporting food) falls into the third group, since its final use is an indirect contact. Although there is a possibility of direct contact in its use, the process itself does not require restrictive hygiene measures. Therefore, in this case, the minimum measures required for the product they manufacture should be taken into account. The other two groups are those plastic materials and objects in direct contact with food (with or without a protective barrier).

However, according to the aforementioned guide we cite the requirements that the company must follow for good hygiene practices in food safety:

  • An internal or external training plan will be followed for the entire organization.
  • All facilities will have an adequate level of hygiene and cleanliness.
  • The production areas must have enough light to ensure a good production.
  • The installation of the equipment will minimize the risk of contamination.
  • The storage areas must have the capacity to store the raw material of the finished product separately.
  • Companies will have to have a purging and cleaning procedure between the transition of non-food and food packaging manufacturing.
  • Suppliers must package the product in such a way as to minimize possible external contamination.