Glass containers as a food packaging

Food packaging is a closed container used to protect and preserve the quality of food during shipment, stored or displayed

Two main types of glass containers in food packaging: glass bottles and glass jars. Glass bottles have narrow necks while glass jars have wide openings.

Glass Jar and Glass Bottle
A row of glass bottles at the left and glass jars at the left. As you can see, the narrow neck of the glass bottles and wide opening of glass jars.

Both glass bottles and jars are made from four main materials; sand, soda ash, limestone, and “cullet,”.

Cullet is recycled glass that helps to reduce the amount of raw material needed to make new glass. Cullet provides important energy savings.

It helps by lowering the temperature required for the melting process. This will help to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

A variety of food is packed in glass containers for example instant coffee, spices, jams, honey, mustard, condiments such as sambal.

Role of Food Packaging

According to Kenneth Marsh and Betty Bugusu, essentially four main roles of food packaging are to protect, reduce food waste, convenience and provide information.

To protect

Packaging is used to prevent quality food from being rotten. It is used to extend the shelf life in order to be eaten for a longer period of time.

In the biology aspect, the packaging is used to protect bacteria from entering food and damaging it, consequently preventing food-related illness in the consumers.

 To reduce food waste

In many countries, food waste is due to inadequate preservation, protection and proper storage.

Thus, by using packaging to protect the food, the shelf life is prolonged and therefore the usage of the product can be prolonged.

Once the usage of the food product is prolonged, it can reduce the amount of food that is being thrown into the bin.

Convenience

Food needs to be packed for the customer’s convenience. Especially for travellers who preferred to take away their food. 

In a consumer study done in Malaysia in 2020, the majority of consumer-preferred bakery related food to be packed after baked.

In addition, this pre-packed food is more hygienic.

Provide Information

As a consumer, I always check on the food label before purchasing. The three-info that I always search in the food label is the name of the product, ingredients and expiry date.

The food label is important to consumers because they need to be informed about the products that they are going to purchase and use.

In addition, the marketer also uses attractive labels, as a form of marketing.

The characteristic of glass bottle

Impermeable

It is impermeable to gases and vapours, thus maintaining the freshness of food for a long period of time without changing the quality, taste or flavour of food.

Reusable

Glass containers can be reused for food use. It can be washed, cooked in boiling water and dried using a dish drier to be used once again.

In research written by R. Stefanini et al, 2020 mentioned the glass containers can be reused 1-8 times.

Repurpose

The glass containers can be repurposed into the storage of tea and spices such as cinnamon sticks, black pepper and star anise.

Use the same size of glass jars and when displaying in the kitchen it looks aesthetically pleasing.

I also repurpose my glass bottle to become a flower vase to display fresh flowers and leaves. Make sure you filled the glass jar with water from the tap. 

Glass Containers Can Be Repurpose
I repurpose my glass bottle into a flower vessel and glass bottle into storage for condensed milk.

Another way I repurpose my glass jar is used for the storage of condensed milk.

I usually keep it in the glass jar as it is easy to find.

A glass jar can also become a pencil or brush holder.

Recyclable

Glass is one of the easiest materials to be recycled because it can be crushed, melted and reformed an infinite number of times. It is the only packaging material that retains all its quality characteristics when it is recycled.

As a Marketing Tool

In addition, glass containers can be a form of marketing tool for a brand. Due to its shape, buyers can associate the food product with a brand.

The package can be designed to enhance the product image and to differentiate the food product from other companies. For example, a large sticker can be used to accommodate instructions on how to use or even recipes.

Characteristic of food pack in glass

1.   High-quality food

Customers believed the food to be high-quality. Research carried out in 2015 by S. Balzarotti et al identified 30 participants to have a pleasant experience on food packed in glass containers rather than plastics.

2.   Food is kept fresh

Glass is an impermeable material which means water and air cannot enter the container. Thus, preserving food flavours and freshness. The glass containers also do not interact with or alter the taste, odour or composition of the food that they contain.

3.   Microwaveable

The glass container can be used to reheat food in the container. The lid needs to be removed before preheating as a safety measure. Although the lid can be loosened a little to prevent the food from splashing in the microwave.

4.   Aesthetically appealing

In addition, it has potential due to the design of glass containers. The design can be used as an added value to enhance the brand. The characteristic of the glass, transparent, has an advantage for buyers to see the food.

Not only that, the variations in glass colour can protect light-sensitive contents.

Lastly, glass bottles are attractive because they have a classic look. They stay simple and never go out of style.

Conclusion

For some of these reasons, we used glass containers to pack our sambal nasi lemak.

We wash, cook the glass containers in boiling water and dry using a dish drier to ensure it is clean before we pack our sambal.

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