Tag Archives: packaging

Food Packaging

Food Packaging: Roles, Materials and Environmental Issues

By Abhijeet Shah
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Food Packaging

Recent advances in food processing and food packaging play a key role in keeping the U.S. food supply chain one of the safest in the global circuit. Quite simply, packaging extends the lifespan and shelf life of food products long after the process is complete, allowing the foods to be transported over long distances from their point of origin and still remain edible at the time of consumption.

Food is one of the few products consumed at least three times a day. Consequently, food packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of all the total packaging waste by volume alone.

The Role of Food Packaging

Preservation. Food packaging helps in retaining the benefits of food processing and preventing the deterioration of food products, increasing the safety of food. Packaging is designed to protect against the following classes of external physical and biological influences.

Biological protection provides a barrier against microorganisms, insects, rodents and other animals, which prevent spoilage and disease.

Physical protection safeguards food from damage and provides a cushioning against any shocks and vibrations faced during distribution.

Containment and Food Waste Reduction. Any assessment of food packaging’s impact on the environment must take into consideration the positive benefits of reduced food waste throughout the supply chain. Inadequate preservation, storage and transportation have been cited as the main causes of food wastage.

Marketing and Information. The packaging is the face of the product and is usually the only product exposure that most, if not all, consumers will experience prior to purchasing. Consequently, innovative or distinctive packaging can differentiate your product from the competition and enhance your product image.

Traceability. Most food manufacturing companies apply unique codes such as barcodes onto the package labels of their products, allowing them to track their products through the distribution, processing and production process.

The following are some materials used in food packaging:

Glass. It is advantageous to use glass in food packaging applications as it is inert and odorless. Glass maintains product freshness for longer, because it is impermeable to vapors and gases.

Metal

  • Aluminium Foil. Aluminium foil is one of the best barriers in the flexible packaging industry and is used to wrap and package food in stand up pouches as well as the thicker foil used to make trays.
  • Laminates and Metallized Films. Laminated packaging is typically used to package high-quality foods such as spices, herbs and dried soups. A less expensive alternative to laminated packaging is metalized film. The individual components of laminates and metalized films are technically recyclable.
  • Tin Plate Films. Tinplate is ideal for containers of different shapes and sizes. Tinplate is generally used to form flour or sugar-based confections, aerosols and processed foods and cans for drinks.

Plastics

  • Polyolefins. Polyolefins is a collective term for polyethylene and polypropylene.
    There are basically two categories of polyethylene: Low density and high density. High-density polyethylene used to make retail bags, trash bags, margarine tubs and bottles for water, milk and juice. Low-density polyethylene is resistant to moisture, easy to seal, tough, strong and flexible.
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate. Polyethylene terephthalate provides a good barrier against gases and moisture. It also has good resistance to acids, solvents, mineral oils and heat. It is fast becoming the packaging material of choice for a lot of food products such as mineral waters and beverages due to its glass-like transparency, light weight and shatter resistance.
  • Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used as a replacement for glass in products like large refillable water bottles and sterilized baby bottles due to its clear, durable and heat-resistant qualities.
  • Polystyrene. Polystyrene, an addition polymer of styrene, is clear, hard and brittle with a low melting point. The usual uses are for food trays, bottles, plates, cups, lids, disposable cutlery and egg cartons.

Paper and Cardboard

  • Paper
    • Kraft Paper. Kraft paper is produced in different forms such as bleached white, heavy duty, unbleached and natural brown. The natural kraft is the strongest of all paper and is used for wrapping and bags.
    • Greaseproof Paper. Greaseproof paper is made through a process known as beating and is used as food packaging to wrap snack foods, cookies, candy bars and other oily foods.
  • Paperboard. Paperboard is thicker than paper with a higher weight per unit area and is usually used to make containers for shipping.
    • White Board. White board is generally used as the inner layer of cartons and is made from numerous thin layers of bleached chemical pulp.
    • Solid Board. Solid board has multiple layers of bleached sulfate board and is used to package soft drinks and fruit juices.

Three Ways to Solve Environment Issues

  1. Waste Prevention. Waste prevention reduces the amount or toxicity of the waste generated by manufacture, purchase or use of the original materials and products as well as by change of design. Waste reduction techniques generally include the designing of more durable products, less packaging and the reuse of materials and products.
  2. Recycling. Recycling involves reprocessing materials into new products. A recycling program usually encompasses collecting, sorting, processing, manufacturing, and the sale of recycled products. To make recycling economically feasible, recycled materials and products must have a market.
  3. Composting. Composting involves arranging the organic materials into piles and providing sufficient moisture for aerobic decomposition by microorganisms, which leads to the creation of humus which is a soil-like matter that can also be used as natural fertilizer.

Sanitizing Food Manufacturing Equipment a Big Responsibility

By Kathy Avdis
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How much work you have to do to clean up after you prepare a meal at home depends on how many people you served. The more people you served, the more dishes you have to wash, generally speaking. You may only need to load a couple of dishes into your dishwasher, or you may need to roll up your sleeves and spend some time scrubbing pots and pans at your sink. Now, consider how much work it takes to clean up for the average food manufacturing or packaging facility, which produces enough food to serve hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. Cleaning up at the end of the day for these manufacturers and packagers is more involved than running a dishwasher or getting out the sponges and brushes.

Sanitizing food manufacturing equipment is a much bigger responsibility than washing up after preparing a meal at home, as well. That’s because manufacturers and packagers have an enormous responsibility to keep their equipment clean. The potential for foodborne illnesses is something that all manufacturers and packagers need to guard against at all times. Meaning, they must follow strict food safety protocols that include cleaning and sanitizing all equipment every night. This is essential not only because it keeps them compliant with food safety regulations, but also because consumers put their faith and trust in them. An outbreak of foodborne illnesses that originates at one of these manufacturers or packagers means that trust is violated, resulting in severe consequences beyond the legal repercussions they may suffer. For these companies, keeping their equipment clean is more than a matter of good hygiene — it’s also good business.

Food manufacturers and packagers must follow a detailed, complicated series of steps to ensure that every component and element of their equipment will be safe to use in the next day’s production cycle. However, because of the complexity of the process, it can be difficult for employees to adhere to the process every time. Sometimes, certain steps may be forgotten or overlooked, which is why it’s necessary to keep a reminder of the proper protocols around at all times.

The following checklist details all of the necessary steps food manufacturers and packagers should follow to stay in compliance with food safety requirements. The responsibility they have is immense, so there’s no margin for error.

The following infographic is courtesy of Meyer Industrial.

magnifying glass

Avoiding Total Recalls: Regulatory Labeling for the Food and Beverage Industry

By Josh Roffman
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magnifying glass

In recent memory, no time has more effectively demonstrated the challenges facing the food and beverage industry than spring 2018. In addition to a widely publicized recall of romaine lettuce, several other companies have instituted noteworthy product recalls. For example:

While demoralizing for food and beverage manufacturers, these recalls may also be an unavoidable part of doing business. Plants are grown outdoors, livestock lives outdoors, and no method of sterilization or disinfection is perfect. This is why regulations exist, such as FSMA or EU 1169, so that when recalls do occur, companies can efficiently find and eliminate their contaminated products, and then find the point in the supply chain where the contaminants were introduced.

Despite their necessity, food labeling and packaging regulations represent a huge challenge for food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers—and these challenges don’t exist in a vacuum. The labeling and packaging process is already a huge challenge, which includes customer requirements such as branding, cultural and linguistic localization, 2-D barcodes, and more. How can F&B companies enmesh their regulatory requirements with these existing challenges without adding to the complexity and expense of the entire undertaking?

Challenges of the Regulatory Environment

Since 2011, FSMA has been changing the way that F&B manufacturers produce, package, ship and sell food. In a departure with previous tradition, government inspectors no longer form the first line of defense against contaminated or mislabeled food. Rather, food producers and manufacturers themselves must bear the responsibility to implement procedures that prevent foodborne illness.

In short, FSMA will force F&B manufacturers to implement full transparency and traceability within their supply chains. Artwork and product labeling must be used to support these endeavors—ideally, one would be able to scan the barcode on a food package to instantly determine its origin as well as the chain of distributors that it passed through in order to reach your hands. Right now, the industry standard is well below this benchmark.

Right now, a seven-day timeline is the best-case scenario for traceability throughout the F&B supply chain. Although the endpoints of the supply chain—grocery stores and restaurants—may use modern digital records, you’ll find growers and transportation companies still using Excel and paper records.

In the meantime, a new European Union regulation known as EU 1169 went into effect in December 2016. It made a number of changes to food labeling laws, creating a uniform standard for nutritional facts information. Manufacturers must meet minimum standards for legibility, attain a minimum font size, and notify consumers about potential allergens.

Purely by coincidence, a new FDA food labeling law has also recently gone into effect. Announced in May 2016, this rule will update serving sizes found on most food packaging, alert consumers to added sugars, and more. Although these rules were originally slated to take effect in 2018, they’ve been delayed to 2020 for companies with more than $10 million in revenue, and delayed to 2021 for smaller F&B manufacturers.

To encapsulate, F&B manufacturers must now adjust to the following factors:

  • The FDA is becoming much more serious about preventing foodborne illnesses
  • To this extent, it’s begun to demand instant traceability from F&B manufacturers
  • In addition, the EU will force manufacturers to update their nutritional labeling
  • Manufacturers must update their nutritional labels in the United States as well—but differently

Barcodes and labeling already pose a complicated challenge for manufacturers, causing product recalls and packaging write-offs. Putting additional regulation on top of that solves problems in one sense, by making recalls less likely, but also creates problems in another sense—by putting pressure on artwork and labeling departments that are already overworked. After all, regulations alone aren’t the only sources of change and challenge when it comes to labeling and packaging.

Other Stressors on Labeling and Packaging within F&B Manufacturers

Changing consumer tastes, changing marketing methods, and changing technologies all play their role in adding stress to the job of labeling and packaging within the F&B manufacturing industry.

  • New Branding Needs. Packaging drives 36% of purchase decisions, which means that new and eye-catching label designs are always a must. Good design is subjective, however, and tastes change. For example, most Americans are now driven towards brands that are driven towards social and environmental causes. In other words, many F&B manufacturers may soon reorient their product artwork design to reflect this new concern.
  • International Expansion. If EU 1169 is a concern for you, it probably means that you’re selling into countries where English isn’t the only language. It’s easy to make missteps in this realm. For example, it’s possible to accidentally approve poorly translated copy, or to approve copy that’s in the wrong language entirely.
  • New Technologies. In addition to the UPC, many brands are now incorporating 2-D barcodes (such as QR codes), which provide product information when scanned by a smartphone. Although these codes are supposed to provide more information to consumers, only 34% of consumers actually scanned them as of 2014. The challenge for the labeling department is to make these codes more useful and user-friendly.

These new techniques, regions and branding requirements pose challenges. Think about the possibility of approving the right logo for the wrong country, approving out-of-date artwork, or substituting an FDA-compliant label for one that should comply with EU-1199. These things will happen, and they will necessarily lead to recalls. Here’s the question: How do you structure your artwork and labeling departments to minimize these risks?

Minimize Risks with Standardized, Centralized Labeling and Artwork Management

The secret to producing compliant labeling with up-to-date branding and correct localization is to create a system that gives you as little choice as possible. In other words, you should not find yourself wandering through a nest of file folders wondering which asset is the most up-to-date or find yourself developing separate label templates for each separate region you sell into.

Instead, your labeling and packaging artwork should be able to integrate with other business applications and content libraries to ensure your accessing the correct, most up-to-date approved content and assets. In an ideal world, if you start creating a label and select “Spain” as your target market, your labeling solution would immediately retrieve the relevant content for that target market. With the right kind of integrated, dynamic, data-driven solution you can be confident that you’ll only be dealing with complete with approved Spanish-language content for your packaging and your labeling. You would have peace of mind that your solution would generate an EU 1199-compliant nutrition label template, auto-populated with the appropriate nutrition facts. Additionally, if this label is intended for food sold only by a particular supermarket chain, you would feel confident that your solution would retrieve all of the correct content, images and barcodes required for that brand.

Improve Traceability by Replacing Sources of Confusion with Sources of Truth

To ensure accuracy and consistency, your labeling solution should integrate with your “sources of truth,” namely your ERP systems, but also potentially including your manufacturing execution systems, warehouse management systems, and more. You should be able to leverage existing business processes and vital data sources to drive labeling—to avoid replication of data and potential error, and instead automate and streamline your processes.

Recalls may be a fact of life, but using the right labeling and packaging solution will let you narrow their scope—and trace contamination to its source within a much faster window. The fastest solve for this problem involves creating a true “closed loop” for artwork and labeling—a comprehensive, integrated and automated solution to provide accurate and consistent labeling.

Recall

Packaging Process Breakdown Causes Eataly Recall

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Eataly USA has recalled its Eataly Artichoke Spread due to undeclared walnuts. A customer who is allergic to walnuts suffered a “light” allergic reaction after consuming the spread.

“The customer declined to fill out the Eataly incident form and just wanted to bring the seriousness of what happened to our attention.” – FDA

After investigating further, it was discovered that the issue was caused by a temporary breakdown in the packaging process, FDA stated in a safety recall.

The product was distributed at the company’s popular New York City Eataly Flatiron location.

Food Safety Tech
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3 Ways to Ensure Food Safety for Packaged Foods

By Erica Montes
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Food Safety Tech

Food safety and hygiene are very important aspects of food production, processing and consumption. In the absence of proper hygiene and safety protocols, the entire food chain right from the farmer who grows the food till the consumer who eats it is compromised. Food safety lapses like contamination and spoiling of food pose major health risks.

There are many ways in which a perfectly safe food product can turn hazardous. Cross contamination from animal matter, lack of hygiene among workers in processing plants, poor sanitation procedures, inadequate preservation techniques and low-quality packaging can all adversely affect the shelf life of a food product. Raw food spoils much faster than processed food, so fresh vegetables and fruits used in food processing must be washed properly and stored at optimal temperatures before they are processed.

The following are a few critical factors that affect the safety, shelf life and hygiene of food products.

1. Hygiene in Processing Plants

Personal hygiene and excellent sanitation policies are essential to maintaining food safety. Processing facilities potentially have several points of food contact equipment and food contact surfaces. There must be well developed and written standard cleaning practices or sanitation procedures for all such high-touch areas in a food processing plant. All equipment, vessels and surfaces must be monitored for bioburden or presence of microbial matter.

The workers must also be aware of good personal hygiene practices. This will help prevent cross contamination and possible spread of foodborne diseases from humans. Workers suffering from contagious diseases should refrain from coming to work and regular employee health checkups must be carried out by doctors. All staff must be trained in food and personal hygiene, and strictly follow recommended methods of hand washing and drying. Proper usage of hygiene gear including masks, caps, gloves, overalls and footwear must be ensured.

Floors, walls, drainage facilities, narrow cat-walks and all surfaces in the processing area must be cleaned thoroughly using high quality cleaning materials. The standard cleaning practices must be diligently met each time and the supervisors should ensure that the crew is doing their job properly. Quality and consistent employee training, and effective instant monitoring methods like ATP testing will help achieve these goals.

2. Good Packaging Is Crucial

The quality and suitability of packaging are also very important in determining the safety, longevity and hygiene of food products.

Evolving consumer habits, growth of online marketplaces, increased consumption of high-protein foods, popular demand for smaller portions due to shrinking family size and the rise in new global distribution channels have all impacted packaging requirements.

Sustainable and responsibly sourced packaging materials are the hallmark of advanced packaging technology. They are environmentally friendly and do not deplete natural resources. Clean label packaging focuses on using recycled materials, high-pressure packaging technology, digital packaging and 3-D printing techniques, and outsourcing of more activities to save money, time and resources.

The need for reducing food waste has been an important objective of all recent packaging innovations. According to a recent report by The Guardian, almost half of all U.S. food produce is thrown away. Global food waste can be reduced by extending the shelf life of packaged foods, thereby avoiding early disposal and excessive purchasing. Latest innovations include in-built freshness sensors in packaging that alert customers when food goes bad, vacuum skin innovations, barrier bags and modified-atmosphere packaging.

3. Consumer Awareness Is Key

The end user or the customer who buys the food product for consumption also needs to be aware of good food use, preparation and storage methods.

Fresh veggies and fruits should be washed thoroughly, chopped, diced, and sliced, and stored in clear, airtight containers in the fridge. Prepare and cook raw foods like fish, poultry and meat to extend their storage life. Cooked food can be safely frozen for a long time. In addition, many food items like casseroles, soups, sauces, stir-fries and baked foods stay safe for cooking and consumption even beyond their typically assumed use-by date.

As responsible consumers, we must be aware of the difference between use-by, sell-by, best-before and expiration dates. This will prevent us from throwing away a whole lot of perfectly edible food items from our pantries.

Conclusion

Food safety is a matter of global concern and affects the well being of billions of people all over the world. Ensuring safety, hygiene, freshness and long shelf life of food items will help reduce food waste, hunger and starvation in the world. It will also reduce the burden on limited natural resources and will help ensure a sustainable and efficient food chain.

Gears

Three Practices for Supply Chain Management in the Food Industry

By Kevin Hill
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Gears

While building an effective logistics strategy, the end goal of supply chain management (SCM) needs to be kept in mind (i.e., allowing each member of the supply chain to achieve efficient inventory management as well as reach its customer service goals). To this end, it’s important to share information that will help each member achieve success. This includes data relating to demand forecasts, anticipated lead times and safety stock quantities. Let’s look at SCM best practices for food manufacturing and supply, and how this information plays a role.

Effective SCM: Best Practices for the Food Industry

Here’s an overview of SCM best practices in food supply and manufacturing:

Learn more about managing your supply chain at the Best Practices in Food Safety Supply Chain conference | June 5–6, 2017 | LEARN MOREDemand Forecasts. This is generally based on demand, sales or usage patterns in the past. However, future demand can be affected by changing situations such as:

  • Gaining/losing customers
  • Increased/decreased product popularity
  • Introduction of new products
  • Short-term increase in demand through promotions, etc.

Better estimates can be achieved with an effective derived demand or a CPFR (collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment) system. This can be done through automated data collection, or by the following process:

  • Identifying customers who can predict future demand (i.e., what they may use or sell in the future)
  • Collecting demand forecasts about specific products from them
  • Comparing these forecasts against their actual purchases on a monthly basis
  • Helping them improve future predictions by sharing this data with them

Customers may overestimate demand, but you might consider offering a discount based on accurate forecasts to encourage better results. In addition, you should also consider these five elements:

  • Usage patterns in the past, not including CPFR data
  • Increasing/decreasing product popularity trends
  • Higher/lower seasonal usage or demand
  • Events/promotions in the near future
  • Market and industry data from sources such as management, sales, etc.
Eva Almenar, MSU

Packaging Technique Could Help Produce Last Longer

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Eva Almenar, MSU
Eva Almenar, MSU
Eva Almenar and a team of researchers at Michigan State University may have found a way to make packaged produce last longer. (Image courtesy of University of Michigan)

Michigan State University (MSU) may have come up with a way to make packaged vegetables last much longer. After conducting an extensive evaluation of current techniques, researchers at MSU found that combining a package’s atmosphere of elevated carbon dioxide and reduced oxygen with a sanitizing treatment of sodium hydrochlorite could help ready-to-use onions last two weeks in a package (meaning that they were acceptable for purchase at this point). The results of the research, which was partially funded by USDA, were featured in an issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

“We focused on ready-to-use onions, which have grown to become one of the five most commonly sold vegetables in the last decade,” said Eva Almenar, MSU AgBioResearch scientist in a news release. “Of all the variations that we tested, this one reduced microbial growth, respiration and discoloration, and preserved the desired aroma.”

The packaging technique could have potential use with other vegetables as well. Almenar is also investigating gas composition packaging and containers made from renewable sources.

X-Ray Detector Technology Heightens Sensitivity

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Safeline X-ray technology. Image courtesy of Mettler Toledo
Safeline X-ray technology. Image courtesy of Mettler Toledo

A new X-ray detector technology features a 0.4-mm high-sensitivity detector that enables the integration of a 100-W X-ray generator. The technology, provided by Mettler Toledo, offers improved detection levels with a 20% power reduction under standard operating conditions.

The Safeline X-ray system includes software that “lends itself especially to ‘difficult’ or ‘busy’ images which contain varied density distribution, and is especially valuable for inspecting multi-textured foods and products that have a tendency to move around inside the packaging, such as boxes of cereal or bags of mixed nuts. In fact, detection sensitivity is unaffected by any type of packaging thus improving false rejection rates,” according to a company press release. The system enables the removal of contaminants before products leave a factory.

Randy Fields, Repositrak
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What Comes After FSMA?

By Randy Fields
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Randy Fields, Repositrak

The initial deadlines for Food Safety Modernization Act implementation are upon us, and while it will be a year or more before companies must comply with the regulations, now is an appropriate  time to consider the happens next with food safety in the United States. Packaging requirements, issues with imports, the move toward clean labels, updating facility auditing requirements, and a wide set of compliance issues will be near-term time-consuming issues for food safety directors and executives all the way up to the c-suite.

FSMA is the most impactful set of safety regulations to hit the grocery and restaurant industries since before World War II. But there are other elements of consumer protection that will quickly capture the attention of supermarket and foodservice executives after August, and smart companies are already looking ahead to ensure a competitive advantage.

Packaging requirements aren’t just limited to country of origin labeling. Consumers are demanding full transparency from manufacturers and the retailers from which they buy their food. Shoppers are demanding clear descriptions of what they’re eating and voicing their displeasure for companies that are not providing the details they want by buying competitive items. A quick look at the comparative sales of the big processed food companies during the last few years verifies this isn’t a fad.

Tainted imported food (for both humans and pets) nearly a decade ago was a key trigger for the legislation that ultimately became FSMA. While the act addresses record keeping and some elements of lab testing, there are still several issues to tackle, including third-party validation rules and the voluntary program for importers that provides for expedited review and entry of foods.

The move toward clean labels or reducing the number of ingredients in processed food is taking form in several different ways. For example, many manufacturers, particularly those that make products targeting young consumers, are eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from their product lines to address consumer concern about the impact the ingredient is having on obesity and other health issues.

Updating facility auditing requirements, at retail, foodservice and manufacturing operations, has been largely left to trade associations and the companies themselves. A single incident of foodborne illness or death linked to a store commissary, a restaurant or a processing facility is all it will take for consumers to demand government action to raise standards and increase inspections.

On compliance issues, FSMA requires companies to collect verification data of their supply chain’s adherence to regulations for up two years and have it accessible within 24 hours. Similar to Sarbanes-Oxley, CEOs are responsible for verifying the compliance of their supply chain under FSMA.  Given these risks, companies have started to automate their management of compliance documentation. Now forward-thinking companies are applying the same technology to ensure that information supplied by trading partners on products such as gluten-free goods or items containing nuts is frequently updated to avoid lapses that could lead to lawsuits and worse.

There certainly are a few different visions of the future of food safety. One commonality is that consumers will continue to demand an even safer food supply chain.  If companies don’t pursue this goal, legal action or governmental regulation will step in to encourage change.

Color Choices When It Comes to Food

By Chelsey Davis
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When it comes to getting your product off the shelf and into consumers’ homes, color has a lot to do with first impressions. So when deciding on packaging or even food coloring, what colors should food manufacturers choose?

Color plays a huge role in how we decide what to eat. It’s often the first element noticed in the appearance of a food product and as humans, we begin to associate certain colors with various food types from birth. We then attribute these colors to certain tastes. For example, if something is bright red, we might assume it will taste like cherry or cinnamon. If something is bright green, we might expect that food product to taste like lime or apple. And when it comes to fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables, we rely on the color to determine the ripeness or freshness. So aside from expected taste, what else do colors mean when it comes to food?

Red – Appetizing: According to research, the color red is not only eye-catching, but also triggers appetite and is used on a majority of packaging designs. This is perhaps because the color, when found in natural foods like berries, indicates ripeness or sweetness.

Blue – Appetite Suppressant: Surprisingly, there are no true blue foods found in nature, and no, blueberries are actually a shade of purple! Blue, in relation to foods, is actually an appetite suppressant. This is why some weight loss plans suggest placing your food on a blue plate, or even dying your food blue to avoid overindulgence.

Yellow – Happiness: Yellow is perceived as the happiest color and is used widely in various food products. As such, yellow tends to evoke optimism and general good feelings. There are, however, speculations and disagreements when it comes to the artificial color of yellow in food products.

Green – Natural/Healthy: With sustainability and organic being at the top of mind for a large amount of consumers, green is making its way to becoming one of the more popular colors in the food supply chain (think green juice). The color green is now almost synonymous with health and well-being when it comes to food.

Orange – Satisfying/Energizing: One article states that orange is associated with foods that are hearty and satisfying, like breads, soups and potato products, but can also be seen as a source of energy.

Color choices when it comes to packaging

As mentioned above, color is the first thing we notice when it comes to appearance. In fact, more than 90% of purchase decisions are influenced by visual factors, and 85% of shoppers say that color is the primary reason for buying a product. With that in mind, understanding how color on packages dictates purchasing behavior is important to food manufacturers. While the descriptions of colors above represent how we feel towards food items, the colors on the packaging of those food items elicit completely different feelings. For example, seeing blue eggs on a plate versus purchasing eggs in blue packaging will evoke different emotions. Here’s how a few colors break down in terms of packaging:

Red – Energy: Red is a very bold color and using it in your packaging helps to draw attention to you product. Not only does it spark appetite, but it’s also the color we tend to look at first. This is why red is so popular among food packages.

Blue – Trust: Unlike the food color of blue, using blue in your packaging helps to portray trust and dependability in your product. It should be noted, however, that darker blues are considered more professional and serious, whereas lighter blues help to give the perception of softness and creativity.

Yellow – Optimistic: Yellow in packaging is very similar to yellow in food coloring. It helps to suggest that something is original or innovative, or that the product is cheaper/fun. With the positive energy of this color, we typically see it used to help attract children and young adolescents.

Green – Healthy: As with green in food coloring, green in packaging is also associated with healthy and organic products. With the increase in consumers being more aware of their health and what goes into their bodies, we are seeing green used in more and more product packaging.

Purple – Uniqueness: Using purple in your packaging helps to imply that your product is unique or original, and with purple being attributed to spirituality, it is often used in holistic products. It should also be noted that purple tends to be more attractive to females and the youth market, but is slowly making its way into acceptance within the male audience.

Orange – Affordability: Orange is often times used to portray value and affordability, and for food marketers, using orange on packaging helps to give the item a more affordable feel.

Black – Luxury: Black typically stands out on packaging and tends to appear heavier and more expensive, which transmits a higher perceived value. You can see this color used on items like premium ice creams and chip packages. And depending on what colors you choose to pair it with, black can give off various feelings.

Brown – Earthy: Brown tends to be used in products that want to portray a natural, wholesome or organic feel, as well as comfort and simplicity. We often see brown packaging in products that promote sustainability, proclaiming that the materials used to make the package were recycled.

White – Simple: White is viewed as simple, pure and basic, and is a good choice when attempting to create the impression of cleanliness, purity, efficiency or, of course, simplicity. And depending on the additional colors chosen to pair with white, you can give your packaging, or product, a completely different feel.

When it comes to getting your product off the shelf and into consumers’ homes, color has a lot to do with first impressions. So when deciding on packaging or even food coloring, make sure to pay close attention to the psychology behind color when it comes to purchasing behavior. Do you have additional tips on choosing colors for food items and packaging? Leave a comment below and let us know!