Do you know that 70% of the Aluminium Foil produced worldwide is used for food packaging only?
Do you know that in 1911, the Toblerone, yes, our favorite chocolate bar started using aluminium foil for food packaging applications for the very first time?
Recently, though the use of plastic products has increased significantly for packaging foods, all of us know that plastics are generally non-biodegradable and may take centuries to decay and cause environmental degradation. Hence, as Aluminium Foil is biodegradable, it’s the best option to replace plastic for food packaging as it is very environmentally friendly.
The main benefit of using Aluminium foil for food packaging applications is that it is a recyclable material and can be reused many times using the simple environment-friendly recycling process. It has many good barrier properties and hence is the most commonly used and preferred packaging material in the world.
How Aluminium Foil is made?
Aluminium is the third most abundant element, available in the earth’s crust after oxygen and silicon. It is extracted from the Bauxite ore.
In the Aluminium Foil manufacturing process, firstly, ‘alumina’ a pure aluminium oxide which is extracted by processing the bauxite ore, and then by passing an electric current through it. Pure aluminium in the form of slabs are produced by the electrolytic reduction process. These slabs are then used to manufacture foil stock in hot rolling mills. For most of the applications, pure aluminium is used but in other cases, its alloys are tailored in order to add strength. The foil stock is mostly produced in heavy gauge of 300 micron, which is then further transferred to aluminium foil rolling facility for further downgauging it. At aluminium foil plant, it is reduced from 300 micron to various thicknesses in the range of 7 microns to 100 microns and used for different applications and end-uses.
Aluminium Foil Properties
Aluminium has its quite unique combination of properties like recyclability, ductility, flexibility, impermeability, strength, conductivity, corrosion resistance and compatibility with other materials makes aluminium foil an ultimate option to replace the other numerous types of food packaging applications.
Is Aluminium Foil safe for food packaging?
The barrier properties of aluminium foil against the migration of oxygen and other gases, volatile aromas, moisture and even against the impact of light are quite better than that of plastic.
Many case studies have shown that food stored in plastic for a long time can cause cancer. But, the use of aluminium in the packaging of the food material is considered to be safe because of the high chemical stability of aluminium foil.
The inner coating of the foil is tailored according to the properties of the content that is going to be packed on the basis of the present toxicological knowledge of the professionals.
Why use of Aluminium Foil is recommonded to wrap food items?
There are numerous advantages of wrapping food items in Aluminium Foil. It acts as a strong barrier against oxygen vapor, various types of bacteria, external light etc. It also protects the food from external contamination.
Following are the main advantages of using aluminum foil for packaging your foods items.
- It helps to seal in the flavour of the contentby just tightly pinching the foil to the sides of the container so no air can go in or come out.
- As Aluminium Foil can withstand high temperatures, it is ideal to wrap the food to be stored that needs to be reheated in the near future.
- As it acts as a strong barrier against moisture, light, bacteria and all gases. Due to this, food packed in aluminium foil last longer as compared to food packed in plastic.
- The ease of forming around any shape within seconds makes it the most ideal house hold and food industry.
How do Aluminium Foil Food Containers help?
The aluminum foil food containers have been part of the food industry for many years due to the following reasons:
- As Aluminium foil is a poor insulator and doesn’t allow the heat to pass through, the aluminum foil food container is one of the best solution that is commonly used for packaging the food across food industries. It is a budget-friendly option. The aluminum foil reflects the thermal energy back to the food and maintains the original aroma, moisture, and the flavor of the food.
- Due to the easy-to-form property of aluminium foil, The aluminum containers come in various shapes and sizes. They can be customized and manufactured according to the need.
- They are easy to dispose as you can fold them up easily and are extremely lightweight and are very flexible.
- These containers come with the aluminium foil based board lids and hence enhances the overall barrier properties and visual looks of the packages. As the aluminium foil board also comes under recylable category, it is mostly recommonded and used.
Aluminium Foil in microwave
Aluminium distributes heat homogenously so the Aluminium Foil food containers can be used for cooking by avoiding the risk of cracking or melting the container.
Can we use aluminium containers in the microwave?
There are various study’s and research are carried by various institutes on whether it is safe to use aluminium foil in a microwave. A study conducted by a reputed German Institute established that aluminium foil packaging can be safely used in microwave ovens.
How to use aluminium containers in the microwave?
By following the precautions mentioned below, Aluminium Foil Containers can be safely used in the microwave:
- We have to remove the Aluminium lid from the tray before use.
- The container should be placed in the middle of the turntable in the microwave oven because it must not come into contact with the walls of the microwave.
- If your microwave is having a metal turntable, you should place a ceramic or glass plate beneath the tray so that there is no contact between the two metallic objects.
- And most importantly, only one tray at a time must be used in the microwave oven.
Applications of Aluminium Foil in Various Food Packaging:
Aluminium packaging is flexible, easily recyclable, and light. It is non-toxic, hygienic, and locks the aroma of the food. It helps to keep the food fresh for a long time, protects from ultraviolet radiation, oils and grease, microorganisms, water vapor, and oxygen.
Looking at so many advantages of using Aluminium Foil for food packaging applications, the following are the different applications in which aluminium foil laminate in combination with other materials is used depending on the chemical and physical properties of the contents. Aluminium Foil and laminates are 100% perfect for the packaging of:
- Biscuits and snacks
- Pies and Jams
- Instant Bevarages
- Soup Concentrates
- Baby Food
- Pet Food
- Tea and Coffee
- Ready meals
1. Aluminium Foil for Packing of Biscuits and snacks:
Due to the high barrier properties of aluminium foil, the snacks and biscuits packed remain crispy and maintain an aroma for a longer period. The structure and the printing design is customized according to the need depending upon the contents to be packed
2. Aluminium Foil for Packing of Cakes:
The flexibility of the aluminium foil allows packing the Cakes in round-shaped foil which makes it easy to carry the eatables easily maintaining the hygiene and taste of the content.
3. Aluminium Foil for packing Instant Beverages:
As it is very easy to shape the aluminium foil according to the need because of its flexibility, it is widely used to pack instant beverages. It protects the beverage from leaking, losing the taste and makes it easy to carry.
4. Aluminium Foil for packing Soup Concentrates:
Colourful Packaging attracts the customer. Due to the flexibility of printing on Aluminium Foil, the outer package can be designed as per requirement. The soup concentrates need to retain its aroma and its possible only by packing it in Aluminium Foil Laminate only.
5. Aluminium Foil for packing Baby Food:
Packaging, protection and advertising, all the purposes are being served by packing the baby food in the pouches made of Aluminium Laminate. It also makes it easy to carry the baby food as babies can go hungry any time.
6. Aluminium Foil for packing Pet Food:
Aluminium foil is also used to make bags for the packing of pet food. The different structures and thicknesses of laminates are used depending upon the type and quantity of the content to be packed in the pet food bags.
7. Aluminium Foil for packing Tea and Coffee:
Aluminium Foil is the perfect option to lock the aroma and taste of the tea and coffee powders. It protects the quality of the contents for long periods giving the real taste experience to the consumer. These pouches can be printed in different attractive designs.
8. Aluminium Foil for packing Ready Meals:
The selection of a suitable film is very necessary to pack the ready meals because it helps to protect the product and to extend the shelf life. Sometimes by applying the suitable plastic layer to the aluminium foil, the acidic food can also be stored in it because sometimes under the contact of acid and salt, aluminium ions can dissolve and pass into the food.
How to select Aluminum foil that is suitable for the product to be packed?
The right structure and thickness of the Aluminium foil for food packaging needs to be selected to get the optimum benefit from the packaging. A wide range of Aluminium Foils and Laminates are used depending on their thickness.
For the packing of chocolates, films of 10 to 12 µm are ideal whereas in the dairy industry, films of 30-38 µm are used. For the packing of cakes, aluminum foils of 50-70 µm are the right choice.
In order to reduce the packaging cost, these days there is more inclination towards using the thinner aluminium foils.
The chocolate packaging industry has decreased the thickness of the packaging by about 30% in the last twenty years. Astonishingly, the average thickness of foil used for chocolate wrapping is between 7-15 µm which is less than the diameter of a human hair.
These days, as better collection and recycling technologies are developed, the impact of Aluminium foil on the environment is diminishing. As an aluminium foil for food packaging is fully recyclable infinitely, more and more food industries are opting to go for it considering mother nature.
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We have created a detailed blog on Aluminium Pouches for Food Packaging Applications. Please visit the following link to visit our blog ‘Aluminium Foil Pouches for Food Packaging as a cost-effective alternative to traditional packaging‘
If you are interested in knowing more about the usage of Aluminium foil for other applications like Pharmaceutical Packaging, then you are requested to read our detailed article ‘Why Aluminium Foil is 100% recommended for Pharmaceutical Packaging‘.
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