Food Packaging Programmes
Packaging is a basic necessity of everyday life. Infact, the thought of packaging food was probably a preposterous one earlier when someone even suggested it in the first place. ButÂ now, what a change! The thought of getting food devoid of packaging is almost absurd. Packaging is becoming an essential part of the value chain analysis, regarding food safety, organoleptic characteristics, ergonomics and flexibility. It is of great importance in the final choice the consumer will make, because it directly involves convenience, appeal, information and branding.
Packaging is an essential medium for preserving food quality, minimizing food wastage and reducing preservatives used in food. It serves the important function of containing the food, protecting against chemical and physical damage whilst providing information essential to consumers and marketers. Apart from the huge value addition, packaging has served the global economy by helping preservation of the quality and lengthening the shelf life of innumerable products – ranging from milk and biscuits, to drugs and medicines, processed and semi-processed foods, fruits and vegetables, edible oils, etc.
The packaging industry for the food industry has undergone a sea change in the past decade, coming out with a number of innovations and solutions that are consumer-friendly besides being safe and aesthetic. It is no surprise that the packaging for the food industryin India is considered a sunrise industry, worth about Rs 35,000 crore and growing at a rate of 18-20 percent annuallyis expected to cross a turnover of $21.59bn by 2015.This however is very low compared to the global industry value placed at around US$600 billion. Of this, 20% is accounted by Asia region with Japan and China in the lead. There is a great potential for the growth and opportunities for the packaging industries in the country.
Food packaging industry has witnessed considerable new trends moving from simple pre-packaging to vacuum packaging, gas flush packaging, CAP/MAP (Controlled-Atmosphere Packaging/ Modified-Atmosphere Packaging), smart and intelligent packaging, retort and asceptic systems, barcoding and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and various types of collation and unitization.
Both package conversion and packaging operations are considered reasonably developed. The existing level, however, needs to be constantly updated towards higher technology levels. There is a requirement for the improvements and new material and material combinations with higher functionality. Innovations within the industry and value-added packages are specific areas where possibly the packaging industry has tremendous scope. The scope is indeed very large and would have large influence on the packaging sector. With the retail sector growing at a reasonable pace and shelf- ready packages becoming more popular, the demand for packaging will also increase in a good pace. Although the changing lifestyle, small families, more working women, demand for more and more convenience packages have shown a direct impact on the packaging needs. Packaging food more securely with high productivity and extended shelf life are the technology endeavours today.
Thus, for those who find food to be a fascinating subject, a career in food packaging will definitely be an interesting option.