Protective Food Packaging

If you’ve watched the news in the last few weeks you have heard reports about the listeria bacteria outbreak found in California Cantaloupe.  Most recently, River Ranch Foods LLC has recalled 2154 cases of bagged salad that tested positive for listeria, although no illnesses have been linked to the product. With 23 deaths, the listeria outbreak is the deadliest known outbreak of foodborne illness in the U.S. in more than 25 years.

To combat future listeria outbreak researchers are developing packaging to combat listeria and e-coli growth. Researchers Hany Anany and Mansel Griffiths (University of Guelph) are using harmless viruses called phage to kill targeted harmful substances that could be present on the surface of foods. A phage, in simple terms, is a harmless virus that can kill bacteria. Phage has been approved by the FDA as a safe food additive in certain food products.

California Eliminating Polystyrene Foam Takeout Packaging

Approximately 1,369 tons of polystyrene foam goes into U.S. landfills daily. By volume, polystyene foam takes up 25 to 30 percent of total landfill area. These figures make it one of the most environmentally unfriendly types of waste around.

Big cities in California such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Huntington Beach have banned the use of polystyrene foam takeout packaging. You can now add Salinas to the list. Salinas city council banned the containers at a 6-1 vote on August 16th which will officially go into effect February 12, 2012. The law also extends into banning all disposable food serviceware including plates, cups, bowls, trays, cup lids, straws, utensils, etc. The law will apply to all establishments that sell or provide prepared food for takeout.

There are a total of 39 bans on polystyrene takeout packaging in California. Los Angeles has bans in place at citywide facilities and events. A bill will be voted on by the state on August 25th that looks to phase out polystyrene takeout packaging statewide by 2016.

Various cities up the West Coast including Seattle and Portland have also banned these containers. If packaging companies are slow to evolve into the new world of sustainable packaging, they most likely will be forced to by law to help preserve the environment. It’s no question that our eco-conscious society is changing the dynamics of the industry.

After Centuries, Bananas Finally Get Packaging

The history of the banana goes back centuries but the fruit has never had its own packaging. Maybe it’s because a banana doesn’t need packaging? The banana skin itself is strong and biodegradable but has now, after all these years, been deemed insufficient.

Del Monte has come up with their individual plastic wrappers as packaging for bananas. Many people think it’s completely unnecessary because bananas don’t need packaging and adding the plastic wrapper is wasteful. Del Monte however, says the plastic banana package features “Controlled ripening technology” which extends the shelf life of the fruit. Further, this technology could actually reduce the carbon footprint by cutting back the frequency of deliveries. Plus, it’s recyclable.

It’s a very interesting argument. Tell us what you think. Is this banana wrapper necessary or completely preposterous?

Dear Pringles, It’s Time to Change Your Packaging

Anyone who has popped open a Pringles can in their lifetime knows that they can’t just eat one. But you usually know where the snacking ends- halfway through. That’s because with the traditional Pringles packaging, once you’re halfway through the can, you struggle to get your hands down there to grab more. Recently, some packaging solutions have been offered by a few
highly touted design firms.

Despite Pringles being a household name for over 40 years, most consumers view them as outdated namely because of the packaging. The brand is in need of an overhaul. The recent announcement that Proctor & Gamble is selling Pringles to Diamond Foods, what better time to speculate what Pringles might look like in the not-so-distant-future.

Package #1 by The Goldstein Group

This is a version of clamshell packaging that features an interlocking freshness seal which provides easy access to every chip. The oval shape of the clamshell reinforces the shape of the chip. In addition, hanging tabs were placed at the top of the clamshell for retail peg displays. Black is used to allow the flavor colors to pop.
Visit The Goldstein Group

Package #2 by Zunda Group

This proposed packaging solution is ergonomic and functions with a simple twist of the bottom that raises the chips to the top of the new can. The lid on the package can double as a serving cup. Zunda Group also contemporized the iconic Julius character making him more animated and youthful.
Visit Zunda Group

Package #3 by Little Big Brands

The goal of Little Big Brands was to give Pringles a fresh look while maintaining its heritage. The concept of this packaging design was to retain the classic cylinder shape while splitting it in half to eliminate the frustration of not being able to access the chips without cramming your hand down the can or tipping it. Both halves of the package have a duo-part lid made from PETG or polypropylene.
Visit Little Big Brands


Source: Brand Packaging


From Cupboard to Fridge

When you are hungry for something where do you look first the cupboard or the fridge? Common sense dictates that people open their fridges more frequently than their cupboards. The fridge is a dynamic place and the cupboard has become a thing of the past. Companies have realized this change in food placement and have developed their packaging in relation to it.

Heinz, maker of the famous red hot dog and burger condiment, has taken the traditional tin can for baked beans and evolved it into a container that can fit on the average fridge shelf. The innovative design is a plastic jar with a screw top. It was developed for consumers who may use more than one can when cooking because it contains the equivalent of two and a half standard cans.

Baking soda, which was once known as a baking ingredient, is now moving from the cupboard into the fridge and is acting as a deodorizer. The little yellow box made by Arm & Hammer is designed to fit in the fridge and also possesses a clear strip to see how much is left. This package design allows the fridge to stay fresh and takes up little room.

Coca-Cola has made fridge friendly packaging for its 12 packs. The packaging design is slimmer making it easy to store in the fridge and takes up less room. The packaging is also designed to dispense after one can gets taken out.

These examples are just a few of the cupboard to fridge packaging designs that are present. Keep your eyes open for other packaging designs that have left the cupboard and moved to the fridge.

EXTREME… Baby Carrots?

I don’t know about you, but when I think of extreme I think of sky diving,  bungee jumping, mountain climbing; anything where a serious injury is a possibility. Carrots are one of the last things to come to mind.

But that isn’t stopping “A Bunch of Carrots Farmers” from launching their baby carrot campaign.
The group is launching a campaign called “Eat em like junk food!” The commercials are pretty funny and are obvious parodies of other junk foods you can buy like chips and candy.  The question is, Is witty packaging and commercials enough to encourage people to give up actual junk food for healthy food hiding behind junk food packaging? In the next few months we will be keeping tabs on the results and post them here for you to see.

For the time being extreme baby carrots is at least making the headlines all over the internet.

You can view one of the ads here:

Packaging with Banana Leaves

In today’s world, packaging is often looked at as wasteful, largely because the packaging usually outlives the products that they protect. But packaging is extremely important. It provides protection to keep products safe in transport and on shelves as well as information for consumers to make the right purchasing decision. With that said, researchers realize the importance of packaging while taking environmental concerns into consideration in an effort to source sustainable materials that can be used for packaging. We’ve blogged about many of them. Recently, coconuts have been tested for different packaging applications. Others include algae-based plastics, sugarcane plastics, mushroom stems, and the list goes on.

Now the newest development in eco-friendly packaging material is banana leaves (at least until we run across something else….maybe next week). Israeli designer named Tal Marco has taken a decidedly low-tech and refreshing approach to package design with his use of natural banana leaves which are an abundant resource in many regions around the world. Their wax-like surface is ideal for food packaging specifically because they work well with wet and greasy foods. However, the leaves are very flexible and can last a long time after being cut from banana trees. Therefore, they can be adapted to many types of packaging.

These banana leaf packages that are pictured are cut to form using die cutting technology. Die cut leaves can be folded into numerous forms lending themselves to many retail applications. No glue is used. The unique qualities of this material allow packages to be opened simply by tearing the banana leaf along its natural perforation.