Food packaging is undoubtedly an essential element of the food chain – it can affect the quality of the products, with their shelf life throughout the life cycle of the product, from the moment of packing until the product reaches the consumer’s table. Food packaging plays an important role in preserving food throughout the distribution chain. Without packaging, food processing can be at risk because it is in direct contact with physical, chemical and biological contaminants. In recent years, the development of a new packaging for food products (modified atmosphere and active packaging) has not only increased the shelf life of food products, but also increased their safety and quality, thus creating convenience for consumers.
The shelf life of products is both directly and interrelated with food packaging – the shelf life of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and many other perishable ingredients before they are considered unsuitable for sale, use or consumption.
A long shelf life does not necessarily mean that the product contains chemicals
How do we buy different products? For example, the bread we buy on a daily basis in the supermarkets is placed in open shelves. Imagine if there was no wrapping around the bread, how many people would have touched it during the day?
So, firstly, the packaging serves as a barrier from the point of view of hygiene. Secondly, a properly selected package can help to ensure a longer shelf life of the product. Often, the long term is achieved with a properly selected packaging material and packaging technology.
Various products are being developed in the laboratories of the Faculty of Food Technology of the LLU. For example, the National Armed Forces require products with longer storage periods. It is possible to purchase potatoes, beets, beans, etc. products made in packaging, hermetically packaged fresh, and then cooked together with the packaging, thereby creating a sterile environment inside the package. That allows the products to be stored at room temperature for up to two years, provided that the package is not opened.
Sources of information:
Myths and Truths about Food Packaging