The History Of Food Packaging

The History Of Food Packaging
Years ago, food was eaten where it was found. Families used to find, make and catch all their own food. Packaging was never needed for them, as nature provided it all. Shells, animal skins, all of their “packaging” was natural.

When the need came for more packaging, they decided to use a range of materials. The materials included reeds, grasses, logs, bark and sometimes even animal parts. Grass and reeds were hand woven into baskets to store food. Later on, metals were discovered and used as a way of packaging food. Here’s a timeline of food packaging and how it developed:

20,000 Years Ago
Natural materials such as grass, reeds and animal skins were used.

8,000 Years Ago
Ceramics were developed in the middle east and used.

5,000 Years Ago
Wood, barrels, boxes and crates were brought in and used for food packaging.

3,500 Years Ago
Ceramics were mass produced, and the pottery wheel was invented.

2,500 Years Ago
Glass containers were used as glass blowing was invented.

2,000 Years Ago
A kind of form of paper was used.

Packaging has certainly come a long way since then; hygienic and sturdy materials are used to package our food now. Here are some facts that Russia came up with in a study in the 1980’s:

45% of fresh vegetables were lost yearly due to lack of packaging and storage.
55% of fresh fruit went the same way as the vegetables.
50% of grains were wasted.
1 million tons of meat were lost (not including fish – 1.5 million tons of fish was lost, too!).
All of these perfectly good consumables were lost and wasted due to insufficient packaging and storage!

Here’s a more recent timeline of food packaging and how far it has come:

Styrene foam was used.

Early 1950’s
Aluminium foil containers were created. Cellulose packaging was also quick to follow!

Heat shrinkable plastic films were created.

The aluminium can was soon invented.

Polyethylene terephthalate containers, also known as PETE, were used.


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