Why Performance Packaging?

Performance packaging slows down the food spoilage process, ensures food safety & hygiene, helps food retain quality & freshness in today's busy lifestyle.

Why do we need packaging?

Food packaging is a protective barrier against environmental factors, such as microbial contamination, water vapour, oxygen, odorous substances or light.

Different states of rot of an apple

The different types of food spoilage

The history / evolution of packaging

Origins of packaging

The container can be traced to wine production, which began around 5,000 B.C., in the area known today as Georgia and Armenia. By 3,000 B.C. Egypt also entered the business, and by the second century B.C., Rome exported two million liters a year. This was possible using an ingenious packaging: the clay amphora, first developed around 1,500 BC. The clay amphora was a tough, easy to store and handle. However, by the third century, the Romans left the amphora for a packaging with the wooden barrel.

Origins of packaging
Antique art show where the first packages appear

The industrial revolution

This era is marked by the development of new manufacturing processes and new materials. Although glass-making began in 7000 B.C. as an offshoot of pottery, it was not until the nineteen century that glass material became valuable. Glass and iron gained a reputation as the main materials of this era because production were driven by standardized and mechanized procedures. Thus, it was unsurprising that glass containers of all shapes and sizes became economically attractive for consumer products. From the early 1900s until the late 1960s, glass containers dominated the market for liquid products.

The industrial revolution also brought paper bags, which were first manufactured in England in 1844. Nevertheless, the most revolutionary change of this time was induced by Nicholas Appert, a Parisian chef and confectioner- inventor of the hermetic food preservation method.

One of the greatest military geniuses in history, Napoleon Bonaparte said that armies march on their stomachs, since food is essential to maintain the morale and fitness of the troops. This led Napoleon to offer a prize of 12,000 francs for anyone who discovered a food preservation procedure.

Manufacture of glass bottles

After several experiments, Appert found a solution. The procedure consisted of cooking the food in normal casseroles, pouring them in thick glass jars with a wide mouth and covering them with corks attached with wire and sealing wax. This way, they were tightly closed tightly and heated in boiling water some time. With this technique, food was not only preserved, but maintained its organoleptic properties (taste, texture, smell and color) for months.

Nonetheless, this system had certain defects: production was slow, and the containers were fragile. Glass packaging was unsuitable, since the preserved food were destined for long and complex expeditions in ships and war situations. In 1810, a successful canning container made with another material emerged, which addressed the deficiencies of glass packaging. The British merchant Peter Durand invented the tin can: a cylinder closed at both ends, made of tin-coated iron, whose pieces are joined by welding.

Rusty tin packaging

This new material (tin) has several advantages over the glass used by Appert: lightness. The tin can does not break due to its mechanical resistance, easy heat conduction, corrosion resistance compared to other metals.

This invention benefited millions of people by improving the quality of life, prevented famine and a large number of diseases that could spread with food stored in poor hygiene conditions.

Pressure cooking explained
Pressure cooking explained

The plastic revolution

Plastic is an innovative packaging material compared to metal, glass, and paper. Several plastics were discovered in the nineteenth century: styrene in 1831, vinyl chloride in 1835, and celluloid in the late 1860s. However most plastics were reserved for military and wartime use and none of these materials became widespread until the twentieth century.

Plastics did not really take off until after World War I, with the use of oil, a substance easier to process than coal in raw materials. Plastics served as a substitute for wood, glass and metal during the difficult times of World War I and II. After World War II, newer plastics, such as polyurethane, polyester, silicones, polypropylene and polycarbonate, joined polymethyl methacrylate, polystyrene and PVC in generalized applications. Many more would follow and in the 1960s, plastics were available to everyone because of their low cost and opinion as a symbol of the consumer society.

A different types of plastic packaging

From daily tasks to our most unusual needs, plastics have increasingly provided performance characteristics that meet the needs of the consumer at all levels. Plastics are used in such a wide range of applications because they are exceptionally capable of offering many different properties that offer unmatched consumer benefits with other materials. They are also unique because their properties can be customized for each individual end use application.

Performance Packaging

What is?

Plastics, unlike other materials, have been continuously evolving since their invention to meet the demanding requirements of food packaging. Today, modern polymers and processing technologies produce performance packaging to optimize food protection, convenience and efficiency.

The basic design of a multilayer film consists of a structure ranging from three to 12 layers formed by an outer layer of material that provides structural, thermal and printing properties; a central layer constituting the barrier layer; and an inner layer with good sealability.

Woman with different packed food

Using these thin layers, each with specific characteristics, significantly increases shelf life and freshness of food by controlling the transmission rate of oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture, while also improving the mechanical and physical properties of the film against puncture, tear and heat.

What is it made of?

Using these thin layers, each with specific characteristics, significantly increases shelf life and freshness of food by controlling the transmission rate of oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture while also improving the mechanical and physical properties of the film including puncture, tear and heat resistance.

Polyethylene (PE) Polyethylene is chemically the simplest polymer, and therefore one of the most common plastics due to its low price and simplicity in its manufacture. PE has a very good flexibility, moisture barrier and sealing properties. Polypropylene (PP) The second simplest polymer (polypropylene molecule has one carbon atom more than ethylene) and the second-most widely produced plastic. It offers strength, toughness, high melt temperature, low gas and liquid permeability, while its excellent sealing characteristics makes it an attractive option for use in multilayer films. However, its opacity may be a detriment in some applications.
Polyamides are a family of polymers also known by their most famous member, Nylon. Thanks to the presence of amide groups, they offer a unique combination of resistance and flexibility, highly transparent, oxygen prevention, carbon dioxide transfer and retain their shape even at elevated temperatures.
EVOH stands for Ethylene-vinyl alcohol and is a flexible, crystal clear, glossy, thermoplastic copolymer. EVOH is known for having some of the best barrier resistance to gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which makes it particularly suited for food packaging.
Different materials often do not adhere well to each other, which results in delamination and poor mechanical properties. Improving adhesion between poorly adhering layers require the use of special adhesive polymers or tie resins, mainly polyethylene copolymers.

How it protects food?

How is it made?

The extrusion process makes it possible to combine all the highly engineered materials in one single film with extraordinary properties. Developed in the 1960s, coextrusion is the process of forming an extrudate composed of more than one thermoplastic melt stream. This allow to produce a plastic film containing two or more distinct plastic layers without requiring any intermediate steps—in contrast to lamination, where two or more plastic films are produced first, and then adhered together. In coextrusion, the structure is handled as a unique unit, so there is no need for individual layers to be self-supporting, permitting them to be much thinner and cheaper. As an example, coextrusion has been used recently in some cheese packages to reduce the overall thickness of the package by 33%, while still maintaining the oxygen and moisture barrier.

Multi-layer film manufacturing process
Mono-layer film manufacturing process

In coextrusion, materials are delivered from the extruder to a manifold or directly to the die, and combined through blown or cast techniques in such a way that the resins do not blend together, permitting each layer to retain its individual identity and characteristic properties.

Performance packaging production
Sausage packaging process in performance packaging