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Food Packaging

A.7.1 Identify the functions of food packaging.

Distinguish between primary packaging and secondary packaging.
Primary packaging
the material that is first wrapped or encasing the food product. Usually, a jar, bottle, can, tube, bag, etc.
Secondary packaging
Its the next layer of packaging which encloses the primary packaging eg. the curry paste in a satchel in a box.

NB there is even a tertiary packaging for bulk items.

A.7.2 Identify a range of materials used for food packaging.

Consider paper, plastic, glass and metal.
Paper Glass
Plastic Metal

A.7.3 Describe how different packaging materials affect food.

  • Metal can oxidise and contaminate acidic foods such as pickles or juices. Tomato cans are now coated plastic to form a barrier between the contents and the tin.
  • Glass is non-reactive so would be especially good for acidic foods (all foods really) as it will not affect the food.
  • Paper can be treated, made into grease-proof paper, for confectionery or butter to offer a barrier to unwanted odours and moisture

A.7.4 Explain the impact of alternative packaging decisions on product cost and the environment.

Packaging solutions that use non-biodegradable and non-recyclable raw material, use much energy in their production and are used once and thrown away wreak havoc on the environment. Altering any of these elements can minimise environmental impact.

A.7.5 Identify current developments in packaging.

Modified atmosphere packaging Aseptic packaging

A.7.6 Outline how food packaging is used as a promotional tool for other products.

  • Think beyond function and form. A label or package is promotional tool that can drive repeat purchases, develop brand loyalty and even help you conduct consumer research. from ASL
Advertising the movie 'Cars' Advertising the 'Banana Slits' record

A.7.7 Explain how packaging of food products contributes to the development of brands.

  • Packaging can contain, logos & symbols, brand names, colours and trademarks that represent the brand.
The colours of coke, the logo and even the shape of the bottle are easily recognisable.

A.7.8 Discuss the global impact of branded products, for example, Coca-ColaŽ.

  • Is sold in over 175 countries
  • Not reliant or affected by developing on developed economies
  • Locally produced so good for local economy
  • Cultural influences imposed upon local communities
  • Consumers attach importance to branded products in their daily lives.
  • Global brands create a concept of a global identity (sense of belonging)
  • Promotes other products from Coca Cola

A.7.9 Describe the purpose of food labels and the information provided on them.

Include nutritional content, sell-by date, storage and usage information, ingredients, warnings, volume or mass. Exclude promotional details. Only a qualitative treatment is required. The provenance of food products is increasingly important, and food labels increasingly contain the name of the farm or farmer where they were sourced.

A.7.10 Discuss the impact and effectiveness of legislation governing what should appear on food labels as a means of altering diet.

Diets are resistant to change due to cultural issues and habit. Food labels can provide information on sugar content, fibre content, fat content, and so on. But unless individuals choose to change, labels are unlikely to have much impact. Government initiatives may focus on fat, fibre, sugar or salt intakes to counter heart disease.


Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.

Images are clickable links to its location.

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Page last modified on October 20, 2011, at 12:49 AM