Glass Is Good

Glass is good. Certainly, but there are things that are driving us away from it. First is the immediate danger of broken pieces. They are mostly sharp. I couldn’t remember how many times I had a wounded foot because of a broken piece. Before, when there was no extensive movement for recycling. We had the habit of throwing used glass bottles and jars whenever we wanted. Breaking them on sight only to get karma later. We were so carefree that we had so many broken glass bottles near our house.

It can resist minimal impact. Slight misstep and it is broken. It is luck when the point of drop is soft, not too high or it has simply a strong makeup. The case of Pyrex brand. I prefer stainless/plastic cups and plates at home over their glass and ceramic counterparts. I don’t have to worry about sharp broken edges and replacing them often. Carefulness should be and SOP but accidents just happen. Medicines in plastic bottles are chosen by customers. Soda and fruit drinks either in PET bottles or aluminum cans. Why? Because there is a good chance it is perfectly fine upon landing.

Glass bottle is heavy when full and still heavy when empty. Logistic is expensive. The first basis is weight and then volume. If half of product weight is packaging, then logistic cost can be significantly reduced by replacing it with a low cost alternative. The likes of PET and aluminum.

Glass is actually good. We are just expert at finding flaws that we see anything as bad if there are. I found the slogan written above at the gate of glass bottle manufacturing plant. I strongly agree.

If everyone is careful and responsible enough. A jar can be refilled through infinity. It only needs thorough cleaning, sterilization and new cap. Unlike PET and other plastics which are single use. Oopps. I can be, but not as food container for sale. Glass collection and re-use involves cost of course. However, the benefits outweighs it. This is being done by softdrink giant, of which also resorted to lighter and disposable alternative. Who never know about Gin bottle? The bottle specially made for alcohol but later carries soy sauce, vinegar, cooking oil, fish sauce and sometimes non-food items like kerosene. Whatever it carries, as long as it is whole and can be cleaned out later, it is fit for reuse. Gin bottle generic design and ease of capping, the snap cap, made it very popular for liquid manufacturers and repackers. Glass is inert. It never reacts to anything. Unless subjected to its melting temperature, which is very unlikely under normal and harsh environmental conditions.

According to gpi.org, recycled bottle meant for food use can be made of up to 95% broken glasses. Wow! Reusable and highly recyclable. There is also market for broken glass of yours. Plastic as food packaging are made of virgin materials. Recycling it for the same purpose is highly discourage. Virgin materials leach out chemicals to its contents. What more if mixed.

About 80% are recycled. It breaks but never rots. Collectors and scavengers have plenty of time hunting it. There are cases where recycling is hard. That is if it is reinforced. The thing that makes window glasses more durable. It can still be downcycled as additive to patio, cement, tiles and pavement. It came from Earth in form of sand. If not fit for intended recycling, it can be brought back without detrimental effects.

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.

Molo Wrapper

We can made it at home but we are too busy to do it. Maybe too lazy instead. We are choosing to buy the whole ready to cook siomai than making a healthier meaty alternative.

What makes those siomai good is the sauce. They are making inferior product with a tasty dip. They have very less meat. If there is, it probably come from low quality parts and trimmings. Why would anyone grind a expensive piece of steak to produce reformed products for sale. You’ll less likely doing it even if it is for your own dining table. I am trying to find meaty taste every time I eat it.

The popular binder and filler are cornstarch and flour. Sometimes flour alternative such as cassava and sweet potato. Textured vegetable protein is a common filler from recipe books. There might be others that I never know yet. Plantain banana could be a good candidate. Science is always changing for the cause of price reduction, efficiency and long shelf life. Change for health sake means back to basic.

Molo wrapper is one very good example of edible and biodegradable food packaging. The same as lumpia wrapper. However, because of these properties. Inserting it in plastic bag is still necessary. It will rot in no time if you don’t. So the wrapper is there just to give it a sense of uniqueness and style. It’s just a meat ball without the wrapper.

molo wrapper

Plastic packaging can be biodegradable too for environmental sake. However, it also need to be durable enough to withstand degradation before reaching the end consumers. You gonna see rotting foods in shelves if that is not the case. Biodegradable plastic research is taking very long and huge expense because industries are trying to balance environmental impact and food protection. It includes consumer safety as well. It must be safe to eat before reaching their hands.

I stored molo wrapper in refrigerator before but it gone dry and brittle. About after a week I think. Going back to cooling mechanic. The machine suck out the moisture while doing its job. The previously friable and soft molo became dry and brittle. It can be remedied by spraying a little water. Too bad, 90 % were broken already. I dumped them for good. I made meat balls instead.

It is recommended to buy only what you need… It is moist and is likely to get spoiled before you need it.

I want to make my own siomai again, after very long years, but I am too lazy to make and learn how to make my own wrapper at the moment. I asked my wife to buy a pack for me. She and my kids used part of it for their own. It should be for school pack lunch but ended up as after dinner meryenda. No joke, they are taking meryenda about 15 minutes to an hour after dinner.

Let us see if I can still use the wrapper after few days.

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.

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.