Food and drink products are packaged and sold in glass, plastic, aluminum and paper. Each of these packaging materials has advantages and disadvantages for the consumer and the manufacturer.
Packaging food items makes it safer and less vulnerable to contamination. Though the Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern about the safe use of recycled packaging, it is generally considered to be safe.
Food lasts longer and stays fresh longer when it's packaged successfully. Unpackaged food can quickly become dry, moldy or spoiled.
Eco-friendly packaging is essential to reducing the carbon footprint of the food industry and improving overall human health. Food packaging - particularly plastic waste - accounts for a large amount of all plastic materials in landfills in the United States and has an overall negative environmental impact. Though some packaging solutions are recycled material like paperboard or made of biodegradable material, it's difficult to improve the efficiency and reduce the life cycle of most packaging products, as sustainable packaging is more costly.
Packaging accounts for a percentage of all food manufacturers' costs, and that is factored into the final price of each food product for the consumer.
Single-serving packages and packaged perishable items are convenient because consumers don't have to wrap them up or put them in containers before storing them.