Millennials prefer convenience. Be it chopped fruits, vegetables, dairy, or semi-cooked meals; frozen food comes up like a savior in this busy lifestyle. In fact, nutritionists believe that frozen food can actually be healthier than their off-season counterparts. But, what's most desirable is an effective frozen food packaging.
While freezing, most frozen food products expand up to 9% depending on their moisture content. Therefore, frozen food packaging material needs to be strong and flexible to accommodate these changes.
Selecting the right packaging material for your frozen food is the key to the effectiveness of the product. The basic points to consider while deciding your frozen food packaging material are-
The common choices for frozen food packaging include tin cans, cardboard, laminated paper, and flexible and rigid plastic materials. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and dressed meat also use simple shrink wraps. Following are some of the popular frozen food packaging materials.
Hygiene is very important for frozen food packaging. Although deep-freezing prevents the growth of microbes, contamination is not good in the long run. Manufacturers can set cleaning machinery within packaging and assembly line. Following are some good practices for packaging hygiene.
Moisture is home to many bacteria and fungi. Dry wipedown is a technique of cleaning the packaging and product with a microfiber cloth at room temperature. This not only cleans the item but also makes them dry and ready for packaging.
It is also known as soft-wash. In this technique, low-pressure nozzles spray distilled water or specialized solutions to wash off bacteria from the surface. Large manufacturing plants with in-house packaging and assembly line practice low-pressure cleaning. However, this method is advisable for medium and small scale frozen food manufacturers to enhance the shelf life of their products.
High-pressure cleaning is applicable to the whole food items like packaging farm-fresh produces. Before packaging, fruits and vegetables are washed to prevent contamination through soil-borne bacteria. Generally, the package of high-pressure cleaning equipment for frozen food packaging includes spray nozzles, air-dryer, and hot/cold water setting.
For example, the SVC series of VFFS (vertical forming, filling, and sealing) technology from Bosch Packaging Technology incorporates the hygiene standards for frozen food packaging.
The basic mandatory label information according to FDA includes-
Refer FSSAI Packaging Regulations Checklist if need be for more information.
Freezer grade labels and printing are important while designing frozen food packaging labels. The frozen food is stored below zero degrees hence, the adhesives should also be capable of sustaining such low temperatures.
Some of the common labels for frozen food packaging are-
An important factor to note about frozen food packaging labels is that - the package surface is not always plain. They can be rigid trays or irregular surfaces of films, bags, heat-shrink films, or vacuum packs. Hence, before finalizing the type of label, one should also keep in mind the surface of the packaging. This information about types of printing on labels can be useful.
Packaging closures are equally important as the packaging materials. High-quality seals ensure complete protection against the external environment and at the same time influence the visual appeal of the packaging. Although the type of sealing technology to use depends on the type of packaging film, here are some common methods to consider-
Apart from these, zip-lock closures and resealable pouches are gaining popularity in the frozen food sector because of the convenience they offer.
A good quality zip-lock ensures sealing like protection for frozen food. Also, many manufacturers add zip-lock along with heat sealing at a distance for consumers’ benefit.
The types of re-sealing mechanisms available for frozen food packaging are-
Imagine a can of berries falling off your hands while taking them off from the freezer and putting them in your cart. Or, what if your hands become wet, you would not worry the water droplets might spoil the other items. Or, the worst of all, your product reaches the retailer in a distorted shape.
One way to look at is its the supply and store management responsibility. But, on the other hand, because of packaging, your product did not sell somehow. To prevent such situations, you can consider the following design hacks.
Packaging goes through a lot during transit. Vibrations, jerks, temperature change, handling, mishandling, etc. are to name a few. Following tricks can help sustain your product while transferring from manufacturer to retailers.
Most frozen foods are visible from the transparent refrigerator door. The packaging having color combination and graphics according to the target customer has a better chance of purchase.
For example, Chobani kids yogurt packaging contains vibrant colors and illustrative graphics. It is sufficient to make the kids curious and interested in the product.
Learn more on food packaging trends here!