Glass and aluminum have gained in preference.

When it comes to food packaging, we all want to make sure that it’s 100 percent safe and does not affect the quality of the goods stored inside. Whereas traditionally food was often packed in tin-plated containers, people nowadays tend to move towards other options that are safer and more sustainable. As of late, the opinion of experts differs on whether canned foods are bad for our health or not. This because traditional tin-plated iron tins are coated with a material that may contain certain chemicals including BPA. Whether we should worry about BPA and similar chemicals is a topic for another debate, however, it does affect people’s choice one way or another in selecting their food packaging.

Now that people tend to stay away from traditional tins and plastic food packaging, alternative food packaging materials are becoming increasingly popular. These new packaging options are often selected based on their food-safe status and sustainable design. Below, a closer look is given at two of these packaging materials that are considered to be among the safest and most sustainable toady; glass and aluminum.

Glass Food Packaging

Using glass as a packaging material for food is nothing new. Glass jars and bottles have been used to store food and other items for thousands of years. Although this packaging material has been around for centuries, it still today offers one of the most popular food storage solutions. The reason behind this mainly lies in the benefits glass has to offer in terms of design, safety, and sustainability.

First things first. Glass jars and bottles simply feature a premium look which makes them stand out from other packaging materials. Sure, glass as a material may be a bit pricier and easier to break, however, their premium finish makes them a perfect packaging for high-end foods and cosmetic products.

That being said, the main benefits of glass packaging lies in their food-safe and sustainable design. Glass is a 100% natural product and it does not contain any chemicals such as BPA. As such, there is no need to worry about the products stored inside being affected by the glass itself. According to the U.S Food & Drug Administration (2016), glass is one of the only packaging materials that is considered 100 percent food-safe thanks to the fact it’s natural and chemical-free. Added to that, glass bottles and jars also help maintain a product’s original taste and freshness as it forms a great barrier against external air and moist. This makes them the number one choice of packaging to preserve foods.

Besides the benefit of being 100 percent food-safe, glass furthermore is fully recyclable. Because glass is a natural product, it can be easily reused or recycled without having a big impact on the environment. In today’s world, sustainability is becoming increasingly important among small and large companies alike. Hence, the popularity of safe and recyclable packaging materials is growing. Because glass is a natural and fully recyclable material, glass packaging is considered to be one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly food-storage options available today.

Aluminum Food Packaging

Although metal food packaging does not date back as far as glass packaging does, it does nowadays, by far, offer the most common and popular food-storage solution. Metal and tin packaging is popular in the food industry thanks to its durable design. As such, they are mostly used in the form of canning. Although traditional metal and tin jars are immensely popular still today, their popularity is slowly fading due to the debate on whether foods stored in metal tins are bad for our health.

Traditional tin cans and bottles all feature a coating that protects the bottle against rust and corrosion. This coating does often contain chemicals such as BPA. Although we cannot be certain, many healthcare professionals claim foods and drinks stored in BPA-positive containers may affect our health. As such, people nowadays rather stay away from food packaging that contains too many chemicals.

Luckily, there is a simple and safe alternative to traditional metal packaging; aluminum. Aluminum packaging has been around for several decades now. This material brings along all the basic benefits of metal packaging and more. Aluminum tins and bottles do, unlike traditional metal tins, not contain any chemicals such as BPA. This material furthermore does not rust and is much lighter in weight, which makes it easier to use and more sustainable to transport. Aluminum jars are furthermore seamless. This, along with the fact that the material is corrosion-resistant, makes aluminum much better for storing liquid goods. Just like glass, aluminum packaging is 100 percent food-safe. Added to that, aluminum is fully recyclable and considered to be among the most sustainable packaging materials available today. Nowadays, aluminum packaging is becoming increasingly popular, making it the number one choice of many sustainable companies active in the food and cosmetic industries.

When Wouter Wargerink isn’t blogging about the latest packaging trends, he is busy with his job as general manager at uCan-Packaging, an online wholesale website for food-grade aluminum bottles and tins.

Expert Takes, Feature, Kitchen Equipment