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FOOD TRUCKS: evolution of FOOD PACKAGING

In EATSSENTIALS, Feature Articles, Vol. 11

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Today, we think nothing of grabbing a cookie or snack bar from the convenience store, rip off the wrapper and savour the treat. The packaging industry has evolved to be more compact to minimise material use, ergonomic for easy handling and most of the time manufacturers demand packaging designs to be visually arresting to stand out amongst the competition. Looking back, without packaging, we will always be restrained to eating only where food is available.

Yet, man had a heart for journeying and realising that their nomadic behaviour would mean a lot of uncertainties, they devised ways to keep food using whatever they could find from nature such as:
• Large leaves, particularly those with vines for more support in wrapping
• Hollowed out piece of wood used with leaves or animal skin can provide a storing device
• Nuts or gourds were known to be able helpers to store and transport food

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Banana leaves are much used in Southeast Asia to wrap food like the Malaysian ‘nasi lemak’

Example of wood and plant- inspired packaging ideas

Example of wood packaging ideas

Example of wood and plant- inspired packaging ideas

Example of plant- inspired packaging ideas

Advancement naturally came with more knowledge on making use of different materials man found around them and some could withstand harsher conditions of weather and long, ardous journeys thus maintaining the food’s integrity for a longer time.
• Construction of wooden boxes or crates
• Natural fibres like jute, hemp and kenaf are woven into gunny sacks. It had high tensile strength and was durable to store hefty amounts of grains or agricultural commodities. High breathability also allows air to pass through and keep the items fresh
• Villagers learnt how to shape storage containers for dry goods and liquids from clay and animal skin

Then we had industrialisation and due to mass production, the old methods of packaging were no longer viable due to high volumes needed as well as for safety reasons. Consumption became more individualistic and manufacturers made more storage options than ever. Glass jars were important vessels and in the 1960s, plastic (Polyethylene) hit it big as well as styrofoam. However there were not very healthy for the environment from a material, manufacturing and waste standpoint.

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Packaging producers then looked towards the environment again and begun offering solutions that would be more ecoconscious. For many food entrepreneurs, paper products are a good choice due to minimal use of material, being easy to stack and ease of holding for customers. They come in all shapes and functions as we go more in-depth in the following section, hopefully you will have a clearer idea in selecting the suitable disposables for your food truck’s offerings.

http://www.uspackagingandwrapping.com/blog/The-History-of-Packaging.html
Photo credits via Flickr.com
Sanguinie • Jon Shave • ariztravel
Ahoek via Wikimedia Commons

Katty LaiFOOD TRUCKS: evolution of FOOD PACKAGING