The Food Packaging Machine – Is Is Better Than Hand Packed?

So there you are, staring into the frozen foods refrigeration unit at your local grocery store, trying to decide on which container of ice cream to bring home and eat. Both are chocolate mint chip, which happens to be your favorite flavor. However; one of them has “Hand Packed”, printed in bold letters on the package. Whats the deal? Does this make for a better product? Also, if it does, does it get even better when you scoop it out with your own hand at your own home?

Results of a Recent Study are Now in

After a recent scientific clinical study by a select industry research panel made up of packaging industry industrial scientists, research engineers, randomly selected consumers, packaging product development specialists and numerous other types of visionaries, it was determined that hand packing a food product has virtually no effect on its flavor.

Machines Over People Every Time

Possibly the most glaring positive benefit of the modern food packaging machine is that it eliminates the “human” factor. Anyone who has worked with people, knows that anything that they can screw up will be in time. Also, humans tend to be lazy. Lastly, a disgruntled worker can wreak havoc on your business by adulterating the food product that they are packaging.

Fire Them All and Buy a Food Packaging Machine

So all in all, when all facts are taken into consideration, it can be safely said that packaging food with a food packaging machine is a far better way to go then using unreliable, lazy and mentally disturbed humans. Also, as it turns out the public actually prefers to eat food that has not been handled by someone who has just finished scratching their rear end.

Gasoline Prices And Their Influence On Commercial Agriculture Vs Local Food Production

Most of the places I’ve lived, I’ve had a small garden adjacent to my home. I’ve been able to walk right out my door and harvest fresh herbs, greens, sometimes tomatoes, peppers, or fruits like strawberry, raspberry, or cherries. This experience is very different from the food supply most people in the United States experience, and which I also partake in.

Most food in the U.S. is consumed when people go to the supermarket, purchase the food, and then take it home. Behind the scenes though, a lot of things needed to happen in order for that food to reach the supermarket: the store had a whole infrastructure supporting it. Larger supermarkets often have central supply and distribution centers, which collect the food and then ship it out to smaller stores. Trucks deliver the food. Food is shipped around the world on barges and across continents on railroads and by long-distance truck lines.

The disparity in gasoline or petroleum usage in these two models

There are many differences between the model of growing your own food, and buying it at the store, but one of the most striking ones, and the one that I will focus on here, is their difference in gasoline or petroleum consumption.

Growing food outside your own home takes minimal fuel; it can be accomplished with no fuel at all, and if it uses any fuel, it is only in driving to the garden center to buy plants or driving to the store to buy some tools–and these trips only occur at most a few times.

On the other hand, the model of food production and distribution that gets food to the supermarket is petroleum-intensive. Fuel needs to be burned at each stage of the shipping process, and since most people drive to the supermarket here in the U.S., fuel is also burned in that last stage of the process. There is typically even a lot of fuel used in the production itself, to fuel large agricultural machinery, as well as shipping of supplies to the large commercial farms that produce the food.

Commercial agriculture is more sensitive to gasoline prices or oil prices

Considering the massive disparity in fuel usage, it is obvious that large-scale commercial agriculture is much more sensitive to gas prices than home gardening or small-scale local farming. In many cases, you can even observe this influence in the price of various goods on the shelf in the supermarket. When oil prices go up, certain food prices tend to go up, and vice versa when prices fall.

If we want to support small-scale local food production

There are numerous, compelling reasons to shift food production in our society away from large-scale commercial agriculture and towards more small, local production. These include greater economic self-sufficiency, greater sustainability, reduced pollution, reduced dependence or oil, diversification of local economies, increased freshness of food and the health benefits that come with it, and increased knowledge and experience with plants, farming, and agriculture that comes with more people being closer to and more involved in the food production.

I see two takeaways from this: the first is that rising gas prices create a strong incentive for smaller-scale, local food production. The second is that supporting this more traditional system of food production, even if it is with something as simple as having a garden at your home, can help us to become less dependent on oil and help our food supply to be less sensitive to gasoline prices.

A hidden benefit of the federal gas tax

The federal gas tax has historically been unpopular, but there has been growing support in recent years to raise this tax as a way of funding the unsustainable costs of road and highway maintenance and construction. The dependence of commercial agriculture on petroleum illustrates another hidden benefit of raising this tax–the creation of stronger incentives for local food production.

Safety Requirements in the Food Production Industry

Anyone working with food uses shirt protection and other safety items to help contain the mess and prevent the contamination of food. Those working in food production plants have even more stringent rules. In addition to a disposable shirt and other protective clothing, employees of these plants often wear total body protection that is designed specifically for their jobs including items such as hearing protection and chain mail.

Disposable Shirt Protection And Protective Clothing

Wearing items such as disposable shirt protection and other protective garments has two important purposes in the food production industry. First, it prevents hair, lint, and any other things that may be on your clothes from getting into the food. Disposable shirt protection also keeps the food from getting onto your clothing. This prevents you from taking the food remnants home with you. They also help prevent remnants from one food accidentally falling onto surfaces outside of the work area.

Hair And Head Covering

Anytime you work with food that someone else will purchase or that will be consumed by someone else, you need to have your head and hair covered. At the very least, workers need to wear mesh or disposable paper-like hairnets. In food production plants, they may also have to wear protection such as hardhats that will keep them safe if some of the food would fall off upper conveyor belts.

Chainmail

In a meat or vegetable processing plant that requires the use of knives, workers are required to wear added safety equipment that helps prevents cuts and other injuries. Commonly referred to as chainmail, these are a metal mesh-like covering that goes over their body. It prevents the knife blade from making contact with the worker’s skin. In many cases, workers may also wear metal gloves over their regular gloves.

Gloves

Anytime you work with food, you should wear a disposable glove such as plastic or latex to prevent contaminating the food you are working with and spreading it to other edible items and preparation surfaces. In manufacturing plants, gloves are worn at all times and switched any time you move from one food item to another and several times throughout the day.

Shoes

The proper footwear is an important safety precaution in any job that involves food. In sensitive areas such as hospitals and manufacturing, workers may have to wear shoe covers or have a special pair of footwear that is used only in that area. The one constant is that the shoes cover your entire foot. This provides your feet with added protection if you should drop a knife or spill a hot liquid.

Hearing Protection

Food production plants use various pieces of industrial machinery to make the work easier and more efficient. Unfortunately, these machines also greatly increase the amount of noise within the building. This requires earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.

The primary concern of any business in the food industry is the safety for the worker and for the customers consuming the products. Disposable shirt protection and other items are only part of achieving this goal. Proper education along with quality safety gear is the secret to ensuring everyone stays safe.

Understanding The Role Of Packaging In The Food Industry

For businesses involved in the manufacturing and retail of food products, the packaging is more than just a pretty container to attract the attention of buyers. It is a vital part of the product and as such, it could make or break any product launch. Unfortunately, this fact is lost on many retailers and manufacturers. The result: domestic food and beverage recalls have tripled since 1999. That is a staggering fact that should make any food-related business think more of their product’s packaging.

It is not a secret that the packaging of food and beverage greatly influences the experience of consumers with your product. For instance, does it take plenty of struggling for the consumer just to get to the product? One might think that it could be a minor hassle for consumers but this little inconvenience could turn them off from your product. It is therefore important that you understand the role of packaging in the food industry.

First of all, it’s most important job is to protect the product. You want your product to reach your clientele in one piece. This means that the container should stand the common stresses the package is subjected to during handling and transport of the products from the point of production to retail shelves.

Aside from protecting the product, it is important that food containers be safe. This means that it should be designed to avoid product recalls due to contamination and other health hazards. The materials used for the container should therefore be safe. Rigorous testing should be done to make sure that it would not contaminate or jeopardize the safety of the products for human consumption.

Another thing that a product container should achieve is to keep products fresh. Some food products are meant to be consumed in their freshest state. The package should keep products’ appearance in the best possible way. The quality of the food product should also be maintained.

The fourth role is for branding purposes. The packaging should be designed with a concrete plan behind it. This means that you should have clear identity for your brand that you want to project. Would you go for convenience? What about appeal? The things is, no matter what you choose, you have to make sure that the packaging should be true to all its other roles.

The food industry is a competitive one especially today when products meant to be consumed on the go are becoming very popular and any business should make it a priority to maximize the branding potential of product packaging.