Choice of food packaging can make or break supply chains and profit margins. Customers depend on food packaging to clearly communicate its contents when making their selection and to protect the food inside.
Restaurants, grocery stores, and other food sellers rely on packaging to retain freshness of product, present their brand favorably, and keep them profitable by protecting their product. With a lot riding on food packaging, let’s look at variable to consider when selecting your supplier.
Food Packaging Function
Plastic packaging doesn’t strike most people as high-tech, but technology advancements are improving food packaging all the time. Perforation resistant films are capable of maintaining an internal chemical atmosphere that extends shelf life and preserves freshness during shipping. This preservative technology is powerful enough to measurably reduce food waste wherever it’s utilized. As a result, plastic packaging films can help reduce overhead costs in restaurants, bodegas, and grocery stores, while increasing the accessibility of meats, produce, and snack products for consumers.
Not all food packaging films are created equal. For example, films developed via co-extrusion, a manufacturing process that combines multiple functional properties into a single film, are likely to have more features and benefits. With co-extrusion, plastic food packaging films can be both heat and cold resistant, either flexible or rigid, heat sealable or even easy to peel open. In practical terms, a bone-in cut of meat can be packaged without risk of the bone tearing the plastic. These capabilities reduce waste by extending the shelf life of your products while also reducing damage in transport.
The co-extrusion qualities don’t just preserve the food within. Consumers rely on it’s clarity to be able to clearly see and inspect fresh foods as they make their selection. The gloss appearance and reduced haze makes the product look more appealing, with a cleaner look that reinforces the perception of eating healthy, fresh food.
Food Packaging Design & Digital Printing
The right packaging not only protects food, it expands your market share to consumers in need of greater options and flexibility. Solutions like resealable flexible packaging keeps the consumer’s busy lifestyle in mind by maintaining food freshness for snackers on-the-go, and anyone who’d rather not utilize food storage containers once packaging is opened.
Food packaging technology is continuously evolving, but it can be frustratingly out of reach for small and mid-sized companies who simply don’t have adequate storage or cash flow to make the investments, or whose price margins don’t allow for upgrading their packaging. Digital printing has largely eliminated those barriers, making smaller brands look more polished and competitive when sharing shelf-space with global juggernauts.
Printing flexible packaging has traditionally been done with plates that had to be custom-made for every new design. Plate production is expensive, and most printing operations usually charge additional fees per plate. The process can also take a minimum of six weeks to complete. Digital printing can now be done with a simple PDF, and the results are not only completed much faster, they’re much more vibrant. Better yet, digitally printing flexible packaging is cost effective at any size order, allowing companies with limited inventory space to take advantage of the technology.
Design isn’t the only benefit of digital print. Their digital printers can produce custom, photo quality graphics on flexible packaging to be printed on-demand with a turnaround time of only ten days. Which brings us to…
Food Packaging & Logistics
The need for speed doesn’t just apply to digitally printed packaging. Time is money, as the saying goes, and the food industry knows this all too well. When a shipment doesn’t come on time, you lose money – and potentially even customer loyalty. From the family-owned restaurant to international brands, everyone in the food service industry needs a reliable supply chain.
Whether you work with a wholesaler, distributer, or a converter, you should look for companies that offer Just In Time logistical services, preferably offering multiple modes of transportation or with several facilities should the unexpected occur. In our interconnected world, hurricane season in Florida can affect business on the west coast. It’s important your suppliers have contingency plans for the unexpected.
Everything that goes into food packaging, from the technology and design to the manufacturing and distribution, directly impacts retailers, restaurants, and consumers. As packaging manufacturers and distributors keep innovating, the food and beverage industry gains more and more opportunities to grow and build customer loyalty.
Norkol is one of the nation’s largest independently owned paper and plastic packaging provider for Food and Beverage, Print, and Industrial applications. Since 1968, our family business has fostered a reputation for transformational service and sustainable paper converting strategies. Today, Norkol continues to find creative ways to transform problems into solutions for each of our valued customers.