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.

An Option Not To Use Any Food Preservatives

Food spoilage is classified into three types namely chemical, biological and physical.
1) Physical spoilage. A pack of banana chips should arrived to target customers in its peak condition. Every single or most of the chips should be whole and crispy. Physical damage is change in original form due to external forces during handling, transport, storage and display on grocery shelves. No one is willing to buy a crumbled potato chips, mashed cake or a leaking juice.bottle jar
2) Chemical spoilage. Sunlight and presence of oxygen contribute to chemical spoilage. Oxygen causes rancidity to oily products while sunlight causes fading of colors. The product might also absorb unwanted chemical or odors from surrounding environment.
3) Biological spoilage. Cause by rodents ants and cockroaches. Rodents is the most notorious cause of its ability to open foods packed in plastics and plastic laminated polymers. This type of spoilage can also be cause by species invincible to the native eye – microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.
Foods are processed and packed to prevent the three types of food damage. The two alone often suffice to prolong the shelf life for considerable amount of time.
1) Reaction to light will not occur if the package type is translucent – no light can pass through it.
2) Rancidity reaction will not take place if the packaging is tight enough to resist oxygen entry. Common PE bags resist water entry but allow oxygen to pass through.
3) Spoilage cause by microorganisms can be arrested through proper heat treatment, sanitation and proper packaging. All contaminants should be killed during heating, all sort of microbial entry should be prevented by means of good hygiene and the package should not be permeable either.
4) Chemical and odor absorption can be prevented by proper packaging. If the packaging does not permit oxygen entry then it will not allow the passage of other substances. The package should be inert to prevent any reaction to its contents
5) How about physical damages? Most chip packages are pumped up with carbon dioxide or nitrogen gas. The purpose is to exclude oxygen thus preventing rancidity and loose of crispiness. The blow-up package also serve as protection to external pressure. Another way is the use of hard carton and neat content arrangement. The Pringles is using a thick cylindrical carton. All the chips are round concave,neatly stacked, have the same sizes and fits perfectly to container. Larger softdrinks are now using unbreakable PET bottles. Expensive wines come in a secondary carton pack. The purpose is not just aesthetic but also to avoid breakage in case of accidental drop.
If proper processing and packaging are done, any kind of food preservative is not needed to prolong food storage life.

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.

Using Carton as Inner Packaging

Carton is often used as outer packaging material or secondary package. It is hard enough to take the shape of rectangle, square, cylinder, octagon or pyramid.
It provides easy stacking option. Stack height depend on size and wall thickness.  Bigger size and thicker walling allow higher stacking.
Carton is more presentable than laminated foil. I personally prefer a pack of Toblerone over Cadbury. It’s not about the taste difference. It is about the packaging difference. Toblerone box design is more elegant.
Carton cannot provide a barrier against oxygen, dust and microbes but provides a good protection against mechanical damage. A banana chips in polyethylene bag is likely to crumble during storage, transport and selling. Packing it in a carton box will provide better protection.
There are instances when a carton becomes the inner part of the whole package. Like this one:
carton and laminated foil dual package
The package contains four soft biscuits lined in a U-shaped carton tray. Carton benefits were ripped off but it can still provide the main function. That is to protect the soft biscuits from mechanical damage.
The technique works on certain degree but I think it is not as effective as the traditional. It is done to reduce packaging cost. The label is printed directly on laminated foil and the carton sized is reduced to more than half.

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.

Do a Generic Labeling to Save Cost

The common barrier to aspiring food businessman is the cost of packaging materials. There are many business start-ups starting from ten thousand to twenty thousand pesos. They are low cost and very encouraging.
However, some of the important details are not mentioned. Like the cost of packaging materials, bottles, labels or cartons.
Lets start with the  simple paper wrapper.  A computer printed graphic often suffice for the start. But in the long run, one will realize that it is not durable and elegant. The recommended practice is to find a reliable press to do the job.
A label with the size of a bond paper can be as low as two pesos each. It is cheap. There is a catch however, The minimum order should not be less than 20,000 pieces. That is a total of 40,000 pesos. The price is not friendly for the start, specially for a low volume production. Having two related product will require separate label, 80,000 pesos shock.
Generic labeling is advised in this case. Two related products can have one label. Example: Coffee and cacao products. Provide a check box on label – Barako, Robusta or Arabica. After packing the coffee, the labeler will mark the check box appropriate to its contents.
I did the same for our tabliya product. We are making the sweet and pure version. I designed a generic label for the two products. Look!
tabliya on

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.

You Might Be Eating Some Packaging Inks

This lumpia chichirya is one of auntie’s sari-sari store best seller. Every child who has one peso or more would opt for this junk food.

Sorry for calling it junk! It is really a junk however. You should be angry if I call it a nutritious snack.

The lumpia craze is very intriguing. I also got carried and buying few every now and then. It cost one peso per pack. Each package contain three orange tubes with cheese powder . The package color is bright orange. Very appealing to eye. Tend to make anyone hungry and crave for more. The content color is also bright orange. Seems the color combination is nice.

The taste is a very prominent cheesy flavor. Kids really love strong flavored snacks. They are willing to sacrifice healthy meals in exchange for junkies. It is very crunchy but will become though if let in open for few minutes, due to moisture absorption.

After finishing two packs, our baby boy was able to grabbed one empty plastic and play with it. Pulling it of his hands will surely make him cry so I let it go. After few minutes, he threw the plastic on  floor and looked for other toys. I picked up the plastic to dispose it properly.

I noticed the package imprint was almost vanished. I wonder how. Maybe some printing inks transferred to hands, to our baby’s hands. I got another pack and rubbed it with my fingers. The dried ink indeed transferred to my hands.

erasing packaging inks

I never knew whether the inks used for food packaging are toxic or not (please tell me). I should take precautions next time cause it might be dangerous. Food packaging print designs are normally covered with thin film to protect it from damaged or erasure and to avoid its accidental ingestion. Ingestion by transfer of ink from plastic to hands to mouth.

The packaging manufacturer might be using a low quality inks or inks with toxic mineral oil used for printing newspaper.

I am not telling you not to buy this product. I am just stating the possible dangers.

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.