At this point, everyone knows that the world of business has migrated to the internet. As it becomes more and more convenient for people to do their shopping at home, it is no surprise that the food industry is jumping on the bandwagon. For a long time, online food sales have not been a major factor. Indeed, many people would be nervous about doing this, but it’s perfectly safe if done correctly. In this article, we will focus on the ways in which E-commerce has changed food packaging.
Use Of Barriers
Airtight packaging, sometimes referred to as a barrier, is going to become more and more important. The shipping of food is riddled with concerns that most other online retailers would never have to consider. Perhaps the biggest of these is the need to maintain freshness in transit. No one wants to pay for stale food, so it’s important to get this right.
In order to extend the shelf life of refrigerated food, it is essential that the barriers keep out anything that might spoil the food. Mold and fungus can grow quickly on some foods, but they cannot grow without some degree of oxygen. This doesn’t mean that you can just slap a plastic lid on top. The lid must make a thoroughly airtight seal in order to preserve freshness over the long haul.
Barriers are also important for the prevention of insect infestation. When food is shipped over a long distance, there is always the chance that bugs will detect its presence and try to get inside. This is a huge problem because it is very hard to remove such an infestation from a food shipment. Even if you remove all the bugs, it is no longer safe to sell such a contaminated product. Large bugs like roaches can be kept out without too much trouble, but smaller bugs (like ants) can present much greater difficulties.
Long Term Vs. Short Term Packaging
When it comes to food, there is a difference between long-term packaging and short-term packaging. For instance, fresh fruit normally isn’t stored for a very long time without being refrigerated. As such, it is usually transported in thin-walled crates or cardboard boxes. In many cases, these crates and boxes aren’t even covered. You can do this when the fruit is going straight to the supermarket, but online sales present a new concern.
With the rising importance of E-commerce, you can bet that long-term packaging will become the norm. These kinds of packages tend to be sealed much more tightly and might include desiccants (like silica gel) to keep humidity from causing problems. Obviously, this should only be done for dehydrated foods. While on this subject, we should mention that preserved foods are the ideal choice when buying through the mail. Buying things like fresh meat, whole fruits, eggs, or dairy products will be a little more expensive because they must be refrigerated in transit.
The Need For Package Durability
As more and more of the food business moves online, packages will probably need to become a lot more durable. With so much more traffic on the postal systems, packages will likely be packed more densely, and it only takes one rough handler to ruin the whole process. Some foods (like raisins, for instance) are sold in small cardboard containers that aren’t particularly durable. When they are just making one short trip, they don’t have to be packaged that tightly. However, online business often involves shipping from all over the world. That means that some of the old packages will need to be upgraded.
Food safety is always an important factor to consider. As we said, you should be careful when buying food online. This kind of thing really is safe if done correctly, but it is essential to buy from the right suppliers. If you buy from a no-name company in a distant country, don’t be surprised if you get something that isn’t worth eating. In general, you should buy from the same companies that sell to the grocery stores.
You should also make sure to limit your purchases to foods that keep well in transit. Canned goods are a very safe choice because of their long shelf life under a wide variety of conditions. They don’t require any special storage conditions and can keep for years. Dehydrated foods like beans, rice, and pasta are also very safe choices. As long as no moisture is allowed to permeate their container, these foods can also keep for years.
The food industry will surely need to grow and change in order to accommodate these new trends. Still, they have been shipping food around the world for years, so it shouldn’t be that big of a change. The thing is, they will now have to accommodate a larger number of small-scale buyers instead of dealing with a small number of bulk buyers. That is bound to cause some problems and “growing pains.” However, these problems can be overcome just as surely as humanity has overcome so many other problems. If you have enjoyed this article, and if you would like to read more of our work, feel free to fill out the contact form below.