How Cellophane Revolutionized the Food Packaging Industry
13 Jul, 2017
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Packaging is a key factor for branding, shipping and preserving products. During World War II, military specification, or mil spec packaging for short, became the standard. This lead the way to changing the packaging industry forever.
In the race of improving packaging, and amongst a wide variety of materials, there was one that changed the way people shop for food: cellophane. A study by Ai Hisano suggests that cellophane had a key role in the development of self-service merchandising in American grocery stores. This in turn, according to study, inspired manufacturers change the narrative for women’s food purchasing patterns.
Hisano claims that “cellophane changed how people shop.” That’s due in part because this transparent material allowed people to see more clearly the color of the food, and hence made it easier to control and standardize the quality of the food sold at shops.
In Hisano’s book there’s a full chapter where she explains how food vendors use cellophane packaging to control the amount of moisture and oxygen that touches each product. This reportedly prevents food discoloration. This set the parameters for standardization of food packaging just like mil spec packaging did during World War II. Both stories are based in the goal of ensuring the preservation of products.
During the 20th century, mostly in the cities, Americans usually shopped for food at local grocery stores and large outdoor markets. But buying at outdoor markets meant that shoppers had to rely on their senses to make any purchasing decision. That meant sniffing dead animals in order to choose the freshest one or touching the veggies and even potentially tasting the fruit. Coming back home with good quality items wasn’t precisely an easy task.
The rise of self-service grocery stores provided Americans with the opportunity to move away from having a grocer or butcher choose the food for them from behind the counter or from the back room. It allowed them to pick their own foods directly from an inventory on display in refrigerated shelves.
During the 20s and 30s, self-service retail grocery stores increased exponentially as they displayed products for the consumers to choose for themselves. Not too long after that, refrigerated shelves grew in popularity and the supermarket trend changed the way Americans shopped for groceries forever.
Now that consumers know exactly how food is supposed to look based on experience, cellophane’s invention and continuous improvements helped spark the evolution and growth of self-serving retailing in the US.
Just like cellophane changed the way Americans shop, packaging plays a fundamental role in the retail industry. Mil spec packaging is the gold standard for the industry and regardless of the product, the right package can make a whole difference in every aspect, from commercialization to shipping and storage. If you want know more about mil spec packaging, contact the Edco Supply Corporation calling at +1 800-221-0918. They offer packaging solutions for every need and they have the largest storage of mil spec packaging materials in the US.
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