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The 4 Goals of Effective Food Packaging

Plastic clamshell trays

The packaging that is used in the foods and drinks we consume is very important. Most of the packaging has to be FDA regulated for safety, but there is much more considered than safety when it comes to packaging. The companies also need to account for marketability, ease of access, and functionality. All of these factors play an important role in sales, and customers notice these characteristics of a package, even if they do not consciously do so. In order to increase your sales and improve brand awareness of your product, it is important to consider all of these factors.


Marketability is the act of grabbing the customer?s attention to your product. Considering that the food product is carefully covered and protected with packaging, the decision is often made solely on the package. Approximately 52% of people around the world make purchase decisions partially due to packaging that shows a brand making a positive and environmental impact. Customers want to be drawn into the product, forced to pick it up, and then feel good about the purchase.

The ability to feel good often comes from either healthy ingredients or environmental sustainability efforts. Packaging machines that use more environmentally friendly ingredients are looked at better than say, pouch filling machines that produce a lot of excess waste. Food packaging equipment plays an important role in environmental sustainability efforts. Plastics tend to be a better option. Just 2 pounds of plastic can deliver 1,300 ounces, roughly 10 gallons, of a beverage such as juice, soda or water. You would need 3 pounds of aluminum to bring home the same amount of product, 8 pounds of steel or over 4 pounds of glass.

Ease of access

In addition to recyclability and environmentally friendly pouch filling machines, customers also expect the product to be easily accessible. They do not want a milk container or juice box to be difficult to open. Ease of access usually means a type of plastic that effectively keep contaminants out, but is still simple to open. It may mean exchanging out difficult to open soup containers, with an easy pop top container. Customers who struggle with opening certain products are less likely to purchase that product again, simply based on the poor packaging design.


Functionality refers to the storage and life shelf of the product in its current packaging. Pouch filling machines, for example, tend to fill pouches into an air tight sealed package. Once this package is opened, it cannot be properly stored and must be thrown out. Functionality also refers to the contents of a product. If the box advertises a specific amount, then customers expect that amount to be present. This can often be achieved with a checkweigher machine.


Safety is one of the most important functions of packaging in the food industry. The FDA regulates the type of packaging used to prevent safety and health problems from occurring. Easy year roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. The process of ensuring safety in food products is a complex one. Many manufacturing plants use a variety of machines, including food metal detectors to test for unsafe food contaminants. Some manufacturers may even require higher safety and health ratings than the FDA does, to advertise this to their customers. Most customers expect a high quality rating and an even higher safety rating, when it comes to their food and drinks.

You probably do not think too much about the packaging that your food and drink items come in. However, you might choose an item at the grocery store, based on its package marketing. You also might choose not to purchase an item again, because it had a non closeable box, or it was difficult to open in the first place. You may have eaten food products because of the claims of additional safety and health regulations. You make packaging decisions on a daily basis, without ever really thinking about them. You might even consider things like how pouch filling machines work and how foods get into their packaging.

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