Packaging food for preservation and future use is far from a modern-day innovation. While studying ancient Egypt, historians have found evidence of food packaging that dates as far back as 3,500 years ago. As society has advanced, packaging has continued to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of society including food safety and product stability.
Over the last two years, the packaging industry has been forced to think out of the box and pivot their operations quickly due to the global pandemic. With no immediate end in sight, it goes without saying that this trend to be flexible and think outside the box will be ongoing.
Some of the trends we’re focusing on for this blog aren’t new but have been building momentum over time.
As knowledge and awareness of the environmental impact society has on the world has grown, so has the interest and desire to create more sustainable options for food packaging. Widespread adoption of materials that are eco-friendly by food manufacturers is driven by regulatory authorities, brands, and a more conscious customer base that consists of people from virtually every demographic.
In the United States, nearly 40 million tons of food per year, which is around 30-40 percent of the food supply is thrown away. When you add all that up, it’s right around 219 pounds of waste per person. When food is thrown away, often the packaging it came in goes right along with it. Taking that into consideration, it’s easy to understand why sustainability is a critical trend in food packaging that deserves a lot of attention.
The increase in awareness and desire to make better choices helps to drive several micro trends within sustainability including the use of less packaging for food items (minimalist packaging), implementation of packaging made from biodegradable materials, and the use of less plastic.
The pandemic economy saw more companies turning to automated packaging lines to combat the negative impact of COVID on their production lines and keep their workforce safe.
Through automation, organizations can increase their yield while decreasing waste and safety concerns, which directly translate to an improvement in the bottom line. By taking people out of the tedious tasks that come with packaging line work, companies can often maintain and improve operational efficiencies. Coupled with the current labor shortage in the United States, automation can help food packaging operations overcome a multitude of challenges.
As we all return to a sense of normalcy, consumers are on the go more than ever whether they’re back in the office, running their kids to practices, or going out to socialize. The busier we are, the greater the need to be able to take our food with us whether it’s a snack on the way to practice or a full meal. There’s a great need to provide customers with packaging that’s convenient to open and use.
The next time you go to the store, notice how many easy-to-open foods are available. Whether it’s a snack with a pourable spout or lunch meat with a peel-able and resealable storage pouch, customers want to be able to get into their food quickly and without hassle.
Convenience isn’t limited to just how food is packaged. It extends to the desire for a variety of sizes for foods as well. Today’s consumers want packaging that’s lightweight, easy to use, and available in a size they can take with them. Food manufacturers are selling more individual-size options of products they may have sold in larger sizes previously.
The world is constantly changing, and our industry is evolving. Sometimes evolution occurs slowly and consistent. Other times change happens quickly and with little warning. Regardless of where you’re at with managing the latest trends in food packaging, it’s critical to work with a vendor who has the depth and breadth of industry experience to help you navigate change.
American Cutting Edge has a reputation for manufacturing and engineering a high-quality product while providing excellent service. With over 55 years in industrial knife and blade manufacturing, our engineering and food packaging industry specialists are well versed in helping customers optimize their production lines to improve profitability and efficiency.
Whether you’re looking for an in-stock packaging blade or need a more custom solution, American Cutting Edge is your go-to source for packaging knives and blades. Contact us today to put the experts at American Cutting Edge to work for you today.