Types of Plastic Packaging Used to Preserve Food

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Feb, 2020


In the world of food packaging materials, details matter.
Whether it’s keeping items fresh for as long as possible or ensuring that their maximum nutritive value reaches the consumer, the types of materials we package food in is important. In modern times, plastic is one of the most widely-used materials for this job. Here’s what you need to know about today’s plastic food packaging:

Why Plastic?

While there has been push-back in recent years against the use of plastic, it remains one of the most popular, versatile, and affordable means of food preservation. This is because it can be designed to fit nearly any type of food and is resistant to both temperature fluctuation and water and airtight when used properly. Plastic also protects food and keeps it fresh without compromising the taste, texture, or overall quality of the products inside.

Types of Plastic Used for Food Packaging

There are several types of plastic used by plastic manufacturers to create food-safe packaging. These include:

• Polypropylene – This type of plastic is most often used in packaging that must be heat-proof and freezer-safe. It is designed to withstand high temperatures and is also used in pharmaceutical packaging.
• Polyethylene – There are two types of polyethylene packaging – low-density and high-density. The low-density variety is a thin film used for bread coverings and other soft, bag-like applications or coverings. The high-density variety produces a thick opaque plastic used for milk jugs and other types of drink bottles.
• Polyethylene Terephthalate – Also known as PETE, this type of plastic is used in microwaveable and freezer-safe containers. This plastic is great for convenience foods and ready-to-eat meals.

Which type of plastic material is used for a specific food product will vary depending on the needs of that product in terms of avoiding light, ease of access for the consumer, and whether the package is one-time use or designed to prolong the product’s life for multiple uses.

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