A variety of packaging techniques can be used for baked goods.

Packaging


What is Packaging?

Packaging is a combination of technological processes to enclose and protect finished food products to preserve and transport them. The main purpose is to maintain the integrity and sensorial properties of the food by protecting it from microbiological spoilage and staling.1 Failure to recognize its importance can have a negative impact on consumer acceptability.

Proper packaging is expected to perform in three different environments:

  • Physical: physical damage due to drops, shocks, falls and bumps
  • Ambient: damage due to parameters of the surroundings environment (ex. gases,water, light)
  • Human: interaction with the consumer

How does it work?1

The main function is:1

  • Containment: enclosure of food product
  • Protection: against microorganism, water exchange, odors, dust and compressive forces
  • Convenience: by offering the consumer comfort during usage and allowing for easy application of secondary, tertiary and quaternary packaging
  • Communication: promote the product and inform consumers about its characteristics

Food products are typically packed in four stages:

  • Primary packaging: direct contact with the food product, it is the initial protective barrier, (ex. plastic pouches, paperboard cartons)
  • Secondary packaging: physical distribution package, may be used in the display of the product (ex. boxes)
  • Tertiary packaging: made up of several secondary packages (stretch-wrapped pallet of corrugated boxes)
  • Quaternary packaging: made up of several tertiary packages for international trade (ex. metal containers)

Types of packaging1

A variety of techniques can be used for baked goods:

  • Simple plastic packaging: typically consists of a low density polyethylene (LDPE),  oriented polypropylene (OPP) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
  • Vacuum packaging: removal of air from the packaging before closing, suitable only for pita bread and pizza bases.
  • Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP): substitution of oxygen content in packaging with an inert gas or combination of gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2).

Parameters1

Maintaining adequate quality in packaged foods requires serious consideration to many parameters mainly:

  • Temperature: may enhance or reduce microbial growth.
  • Relative humidity: driving force of moisture exchange between the product and the surrounding environment.
  • Packaging material: the properties of the material like oxygen permeability can affect the stability of baked goods.
  • Nature of baked goods: the water content and water activity affect microbial growth, taste and other sensory properties. Some baked goods are more prone to certain microbial growth than others. Fat content...

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