Article: How Package Distribution Testing can improve Food Product Packaging Performance

Our experts look at the key challenges in creating food packaging, and how a distribution testing programme can help overcome these.

There are a wide variety of issues facing food and beverage producers when it comes to packaging; product formulation changes, shelf appeal, sustainability and cost are the key variables that manufacturers must consider when designing or specifying packaging for their end product.

Even with careful consideration and design, food and beverage packaging can face damage and integrity issues when shipped through the dynamic supply chain. Unsaleable products are a constant concern for both manufacturers and retailers alike. Some of the most common issues include:

Food breakage and settling

Many manufacturers of chips, cereals, crackers and other packaged foods struggle to determine the optimum fill quantity of the food in its packaging so that the package itself has a good seal when it leaves the factory, while ensuring the consumer is satisfied when the package is opened. As the food travels from the manufacturer to the retailer, the level of vibration it is subjected to during transportation causes the food to break, settle and appear diminished to the consumer. Without an understanding of the condition that the consumer will receive a product, the manufacturer may return to the drawing board and try to reformulate the product as consumer complaints occur. This is a time-intensive and expensive solution to a problem that can easily be solved with vibration testing.

Compression

As your products are shipped through the supply chain, they will be stacked in any number of ways for various lengths of time and stored at different temperatures and humidity levels. Given the trend of light weighting packaging for fluid products, time and weight can affect the pack integrity, causing damage and unsaleable products. Smithers Pira's Enhanced Compression Testing can take the guesswork out of package design and evaluate package performance.

Temperature Variations

The supply chain extends across a wide range of temperature extremes and warehousing situations that can cause packaging (or its contents) to break down. Smithers Pira's facilities are geared to push the envelope with regards to heat and cold to ensure your food or beverage product is not being affected by these large swings in temperature.

Smithers Pira can help you develop a custom testing programme to evaluate your food product packaging performance under the numerous challenging conditions it will encounter. View our Distribution and Package Testing pages to find out how we can improve your food product packaging performance.