Food packaging plays a huge role in the distribution of food items. It is specifically designed for making sure that food is kept fresh and protected from contaminants so that it remains edible for some time. It is however also used as a focus for selling food produce to certain audiences. Its common knowledge that shoppers look very closely at the packaging that surrounds the food they buy. They take into consideration the colour of the packet, the information presented on it and the design of the packaging. It can in fact seriously affect your judgement of a product and can often be the deciding factor on whether or not you want to buy the item.
Food manufacturers spend a lot of their time and effort branding their food to meet the needs and expectations of the customer. They also do it to attract customers and reel in maximum sales in order to make a profit. When deciding on food packaging the manufacturers must take into account their target audience so that it relates to them. For example, food targeted at children is usually bright and colourful and tends to have some sort of mascot printed onto it. This attracts the attention of the child which then leads to parents and carers becoming aware of it. Mascots are actually quite clever as they not only appear on packaging but on adverts and posters putting them in your sights almost anywhere you go.
As well as the colours and pictures packaging holds it also has legal requirements to fulfil. In order for packaging to hit the shelves the following regulations must be followed.
• The food should never be falsely advertised
• The name of the food should be visible with a description of what it is
• A list of ingredients should be shown
• A use by or best before date should be visible
• The name and address of the manufacturer should be stated
• The foods origin/provenance should be listed
• Instructions for use must be shown so that consumers know how to prepare the product
• The weight of the product must be listed
• Nutritional information must be listed
With all of this in mind, what does your food packaging say about your eating habits? You may not think it but you can often tell by the packaging of food what a person’s diet is like.
Unhealthy foods, or sugary foods usually come in very specific packaging. It is presented in such a way to grab your attention, draw you in and result in you buying the product. It tends to be extremely bright in colour and have large or bold wiring on it. As well as this it will normally have some form of imagery on it. The idea behind this is to get your senses going and your brain functioning in such a way that you salivate and desire the food product. Foods such as these are inclined to have high sugar or fat content depending on the food type. Sweets for example tend to have more sugar in them than fat, however if this sugar is not burned off through exercise it will end up being stored in the body and turned to fat. On the other hand you may go for fast food such as a McDonalds which is extremely high in both fat and salt. If you eat a lot of foods such as sweets, ready meals, and fast food then your diet is most likely quite poor. Foods such as these should be eaten in moderation to ensure that your diet is well balanced.
Healthy food packaging tends to be less colourful, less bold and much more natural looking. The colours tend to be earthy to give the effect of home grown produce that is natural and full of goodness. Less animated pictures are needed and replaced with regular pictures that show the consumer exactly what the food source is. Packaging such as this helps to give shoppers reassurance that what they are buying is good for them and their family.
Don’t Be Fooled:
Generally speaking packaging plays the roles mentioned above. Don’t be fooled by that alone though as some packaging no matter the food is always plain and natural looking. You will quite often find that supermarkets own brand food all has the same packaging despite the food products being different. This means that beans, chocolate and crisps can all have the same packaging on them. In instances like that it is a good idea to check the nutritional information on the packaging to see whether or not it is a healthy option. Of course most of us will know that chocolate and crisps are not good to have in large quantities yet checking your labels doesn’t hurt.
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