A Clear Can With Resealable Cap

Oh! A different packaging. On the second thought, it is not. It is basically modified from the idea of infant formula. A can with an easy open lid by pulling a small ring. Then can be sealed back easily by an extra plastic cover. It is not a foolproof way to prevent product spoilage after opening, but it gonna extend the edibility for some time. Continue reading “A Clear Can With Resealable Cap”

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Secondary Packaging as Display Shelf

Don’t get the wrong idea. I am not promoting the consumption of instant noodles. I posted it because of the instruction embedded on the box side. It literally shows if the box is cut along the dotted lines, it can be used as display dispenser box.
carton as display shelf instructions
Food commodities are usually package within two containers. Primary and secondary. The first is in direct contact with food. Providing protection against external air, dirt, light and microorganisms that may render it unfit for human consumption. Sometimes it has the ability to shield against physical damage. One example of this is modified air (usually CO2) injected to cracker packages. It serve as cushion, preventing breakage due to dents and drops.
On the other hand, the secondary container is meant to group several primary packs together. Doing so makes handling, transport and stacking easier. It is obvious, a worker can usually carry a packs of 10 to 50 in one lifting (depends on commodity type, of course). Boxes could be stacked several feet high, which I could never imagine possible with single small sachets.
Secondary package also gives first layer of protection. Accidental water spill will first damage the outer and takes some time to reach the inner area. Rodents will have to chew the carton first before opening any primary pack. Can absorb minor forces like dents and knocks.
Sometimes manufacturers became little creative by making the secondary package as display shelf. If you are the man buying groceries, you’ll surely notice how the staff awfully arrange most of irregularly shaped goods. The likes of crackers, sugar, breads and sweets. More often than not, disorderliness makes them unappealing.
Their corrugated carton or hard cardboard have easy to cut out dotted lines and clear instructions. With the merchandiser following direction, the product will have its own neat shelf. Beautifully arranged and pleasing to customer eyes.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Edible Food Packaging! Anyone?

Biodegradable food packaging is great if saving the environment is our concern. Compared to plastic, bottles and tin cans that stay intact on ground for hundred years. Biodegrades looses its identity after being
thrown to garden soil. It may take sometime but it definitely biodegrades.
Wait! If we give the situation a thought. Biodegradable food packaging are invented because we are such undisciplined people. We throw empty packages here and there. Use garbage can without proper segregation practice. If somebody tries to implement, we just ignore it. Adding to insult, I am seeing public garbage collector trucks picking all sort of stuffs, segregated and not into their single truck.
I guess the bio-degradation process is too long that some scientist are developing edible food packaging.
Why you have in mind is right! Don’t waste effort unwrapping candy. Just put it in mouth. Wait a little, packaging melts then what comes next the sweet candy. Cooking noodles? It will be as easy as boiling enough water and dropping in the whole noodle package.
I am directly against the idea! Why?
The package protects food from harmful microorganisms and dangerous chemicals. If it is edible, it should be protected with something inert, like plastic, tin can or bottle. It is dangerous, we never know where it was placed or who hold it before reaching our hands.
If it is edible, then it is likely edible to most pathogenic organisms. Imagine a packaging material having molds!
If it is edible, then it is likely very susceptible to simple chemical reactions. Melting down upon contact with vinegar. Changes color when displayed to sunlight. Absorbing odor of nearby foods and transferring to contents eventually.
We don’t actually need biodegradable and edible packagings. What we need are inert packages that are able to contain and protect our convenience foods. The next is the willingness to recycle it after use.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Jute Sack

Jute sack is the industry standard for packaging cacao and coffee despite of its several weak points.  Why it was chosen? Simply because of three things. It is cheap, durable and porous. Tons and tons could be fumigated inside a warehouse. Its porous nature allows the entry of fuming agent, killing pest and thereby increasing its storage life. For cacao beans, it helps evaporate too much acidity from previous fermentation process.

These are the common cases with our cacao.
We often pray that it never rains during transport. Why? Because if it rains, our raw material is likely to get wet. We need to immediately re-dry it as soon as possible, else, will be unusable after two days. Fungi grows rapidly giving off flavors and putrid odors.  The material high water holding capacity adds to the problem. It holds plenty, that it is wet long after the rain. A short and light rain might not be enough to wet the beans but the water trapped within jute will eventually transfer.
The next problem is moisture absorption. Cacao that was dried down to 7% moisture or below is hygroscopic. It rapidly gain moisture in high humidity places. Large warehouses can be equipped with dehumidifiers but cannot be expected with small time processors. The beans become denser with time if weather condition is unfavorable. Become moldy in worst cases. Note, the same bean batch with varying moisture levels roast differently.
It also permits odor absorption. Odors that may not be removed during processing. Nice if gets fruity aromas of apple, orange, mangoes and nuts. Nightmare if gasoline and diesel instead.
The last but not the least. Correction! It is last and the worst. Cocoa moth and coffee borer beetle are gate crashing like crazy. There are plenty of passages everywhere so it cannot be avoided. In previous experiences, a sack full never last for a month once infested. I never experience the same on fermented cacao though.
As of date, my current supplier packs the raw mat in double layered packaging. Jute sack layered with moderate strength PE bag. They are using jute sack only when the contents of tranpo container is nothing but cacao.  Whichever is the case, I am immediately transferring them all to another jute sack lined with new PE bag.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Sealing Plastic on Candle Flame

With the fast technology advancement and lowering price of plastic sealer, I never imagined there are businesses who still use the old aged plastic sealing technique. Melting the opening with a candle flame. There are cases where alcohol and kerosene lamp  are use. The candle and alcohol lamp are fine but kerosene is unforgivable. The food is likely to absorb the foul smell.
merengge-sealed-with-flame
Table top impulse sealer can be acquired for as low as 800 pesos and hand-held sealer for 180.
There are three reason why I am against it. I already mentioned the first above. Plastic sealers are very affordable nowadays. The only reason you cannot buy is you never want to.
The second is aesthetic value. It is not pleasing to the eye. It looks cheap. Not unless the producer wanted his product to look cheap.
On the side note: There are cases when customers never wanted buying when the product looks expensive even though the price is affordable. My friend changed his peanut butter packaging to a more elegant PET and his customers declined. I shifted the shape of common cacao tablets (tabliya) to bar style. Then most customers never wanted it.
The third and the last. It is inefficient. It requires a skilled hand to achieved a good seal with a fast rate. Too fast and there will be too many fail seals. Too slow and you’ll never get what you pay for labor.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.