Packaging Technology
eBook - ePub

Packaging Technology

Fundamentals, Materials and Processes

Anne Emblem, Anne Emblem

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eBook - ePub

Packaging Technology

Fundamentals, Materials and Processes

Anne Emblem, Anne Emblem

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Über dieses Buch

Packaging is a complex and wide-ranging subject. Comprehensive in scope and authoritative in its coverage, Packaging technology provides the ideal introduction and reference for both students and experienced packaging professionals.Part one provides a context for the book, discussing fundamental issues relating to packaging such as its role in society and its diverse functions, the packaging supply chain and legislative, environmental and marketing issues. Part two reviews the principal packaging materials such as glass, metal, plastics, paper and paper board. It also discusses closures, adhesives and labels. The final part of the book discusses packaging processes, from design and printing to packaging machinery and line operations, as well as hazard and risk management in packaging.With its distinguished editors and expert contributors, Packaging technology is a standard text for the packaging industry. The book is designed both to meet the needs of those studying for the Diploma in Packaging Technology and to act as a comprehensive reference for packaging professionals.

  • Provides the ideal introduction and reference for both students and experienced packaging professionals
  • Examines fundamental issues relating to packaging, such as its role in society, its diverse functions, the packaging supply chain and legislative, environmental and marketing issues
  • Reviews the principal packaging materials such as glass, metal, plastics, paper and paper board

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Part I
Packaging fundamentals

Packaging and society

A. Emblem, London College of Fashion, UK


This chapter aims to provide a brief introduction to packaging and an overview of the industry and its development. It places packaging in its context in society and explores some of the major changes that have contributed to the growth in packaging usage. It does not aim to provide a complete view, but to lead the reader to the detailed chapters in the rest of the text.
Key words
ancient packaging
Industrial Revolution
ready meals
microwave ovens
primary packaging
secondary packaging
tertiary packaging
packaging usage
Tetra Pak

1.1 Introduction: packaging from a historical perspective

Packaging has been used in some form or other since the first humans began making use of tools. Animal skins and hollowed-out fruit husks were used to carry water, and grasses were woven into baskets and panniers to provide a useful way of keeping together and carrying goods. Probably one of the first examples of 'packaging' to preserve foods was the use of leaves to wrap meat when the tribe was on the move and the source of the next meal was unknown. As tribes became less nomadic and settled to farm the land, there was a need to store the produce. Clay pots met this need and archaeological evidence dating to 8000 BC shows large wide-mouthed jars being used for grains, salt, olives, oils, etc. The discovery that sand could be fused at high temperatures and made into bottles and jars increased the possibilities for storing and preserving liquids such as oils and perfumes. both clay pots and glass containers were also used for their decorative qualities, as in the painted amphora given as prizes in the early Olympic Games from 700 BC.
As townships and cities developed and men and women became skilled in crafts beyond immediate needs, trade between cities, countries and continents developed, no doubt spurred on by the spirit of exploration which we still see today. Animals were harnessed to carry goods across the trade routes using an assortment of woven grass panniers, wooden barrels and casks and the same types of pack were used in the local markets. Thus the concept of using packaging as a convenient means of transporting goods, and to some extent in protecting and displaying them, was established, albeit that this was at the bulk level rather than with any apparent consideration of what the final consumer wanted.

1.2 Social developments: the changing patterns of consumption and their impact on packaging

1.2.1 The Industrial Revolution

A major influence in moving packaging from this bulk level to addressing the individual's needs was the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the late seventeenth century. The shift from individual crafts at home or in small groups to mass production in factories brought large-scale migration of workers and their families to towns and cities. Foods and basic commodities previously produced and readily available at home, now had to be transported to shops in the cities to be bought by the workers using their hard-earned wages. This increased the demand for barrels, boxes and bags to bring in supplies on a larger scale than had previously been known, and it also brought a need to supply goods in the small quantities now demanded by the workers. These new 'consumers' lived in relatively cramped surroundings and did not have the large storage facilities previously available on the farms. Thus they needed to make frequent purchases and to carry their goods home, keeping them in acceptable condition as they did so. Goods were often measured out into the purchaser's own container, but gradually this changed to the shopkeeper pre-packing items such as medicines, cosmetics and tea, and having them available for sale in measured quantities, thus offering the buyer some assurance as to the quality and quantity of the goods. Eventually this pre-packing moved back a further stage from the buyer, to the situation we know today, where most goods are packed at the point of production rather than sale.
Whilst we have scant evidence to support this, it is reasonable to assume that there was a limited choice of goods available to the new consumer and little information about who had supplied the goods. If butter was wanted and butter was available in the shop, the consumer bought it, with no options from which to choose and no knowledge of its provenance. It was not until the nineteenth century that we started to see the rise of the 'brand name' used as a mark of quality by producers who wanted to make sure the buyer knew which product they were buying and were not misled by inferior goods. The word 'brand' comes from the identifying mark farmers burned into the hides of their cattle, as a stamp of ownership to deter others from stealing. The same burning process began to be used on wooden barrels and boxes as producers faced competition. Some of the oldest brand names are still with us today, for example, Schweppes (1792), Perrier (1863) and Quaker (1901).

1.2.2 Modern packaging

The move from packing goods at the point of sale to packing at the point of production brought about a shift from bulk to consumer packs, which had to survive the journey not just from shop to home, but, more importantly, from factory to shop, a journey which today may span countries and even continents and will include intermediate storage stages en route. It also gave producers the opportunity to develop their own style of packs to promote their own products, and this has brought us to the modern-day pack. Now, unlike our ancestors, we expect to have a range of goods from which to choose when we shop and the packaging plays a significant role in helping us to differentiate between the options available from various companies. We also expect our products to be free from damage, and in the case of foodstuffs, wholesome and safe and, again, the packaging makes a major contribution to meeting these expectations. brand owners now expend their resources in developing packs which attract the attention of the would-be purchaser and at the same time provide the product with the protection needed. These different roles of packaging will be expanded and discussed in detail in the next chapter, although it is inevitable that reference will be made to them here.

1.2.3 Lifestyle changes and their impact on packaging

Since the middle of the twentieth century there have been significant changes in lifestyle in the developed countries and these have had, and continue to have, a major influence on how goods are packed. This applies particularly to food and drink, but also to all other fast-moving consumer goods. The following is not an exhaustive list, but presents just some of the relevant lifestyle changes.
‱ Reduction in the size of the family unit, due to decreased birth rates, increased number of one-parent families and increased longevity. There are now many more single- and two-person households than there were in the 1950s and 1960s and this means a requirement for smaller packs, thus more packaging per kilogram of food.
‱ Growth in the number of households in which all adults are in either full-or parttime work, outside of the home. This means less formal meals where everyone sits down together; meals are required at different times, and with minimum preparation. This brings a higher than ever consumer demand for convenience in terms of portion size and food which can be made ready-to-eat at short notice. Ready meals and the packaging formats in which they are presented make a key contribution to meeting this demand.
‱ Growth in ownership of domestic appliances such as the fridge and freezer has allowed consumers to buy larger quantities of 'fresh' foods, which are expected to remain in good condition for prolonged periods of time. The development of the low-cost domestic microwave oven brought with it a requirement for microwave-suitable packaging.
‱ More disposable income means more money to spend on food, especially luxury food and drink.
‱ More international travel and exposure to other cultures, leading to interest in 'ethnic' foods, but with minimal preparation time.

1.3 ...