Food Packaging

I’ve been thinking about this recently since a trip to the grocery store and a few comments from the plastic bag 1HDC…

why is it that some food (or other products for that matter) are packaged with so much material and safety features (shrink wrap, sealed boxes, “tamper-proof” paper seals, etc.) for “safety” (think about the "safety seals on mouthwash or other jars) and others are easily accessible (fruit, bread with nothing but a plastic thingy, etc.)?

I can see that some products may be sealed for freshness sake, but the majority of packaging and reasoning i’ve heard is to “protect consumers from tampering and contamination”.

why is this? is mouthwash that more easy to contaminate than bread? are “safety” seals nothing more than “value-added” packaging designed to make the consumer feel better/safer or the that the product has more value?

just curious? i’ve never worked in the food product industry so have no idea if this is regulation thing, designers thing, perception thing or actual safety thing…


I think it may all go back to when tylenol was tampered with causing some deaths. The rational (I believe) is that anything that is “processed” should be sealed to a sufficient level… hence the pop up top, heat sealing polybags, etc. I think hygene and over-the-counter medicinal products are even different (mouthwash, vitamins, etc) in that they are all to be in a type of “tamper resistant” packaging.
Your example of bread is an interesting one because it (for the most part) is indeed a processed food, but marketing would tell you otherwise. In this case it would seem to me this is more marketing than for actual safety issues.
Working with packaged confection for some years now, the differences are a is a fine line. Upscale lollipops are packed with a loose fitting poly bag and ribbon wrapped around them, while more mass market items (sweedish fish, Ring Pops, etc) are all in hermetically and/or heat sealed in bags. The FDA does not regulate this. Again, marketing/design drives this.

It’s an interesting question…