Types of Food Packaging Materials

In this blog, you will read: Paper and paperboards are commonly used to make several food packaging like boxes, cartons, cups, wrapping paper, and so on. There are many good things about paper bags in the food, but one of its most important features is its eco-friendliness.

After deciding what type of packaging to use for your business, as a business owner, your next priority should now be to determine what material is most suitable for your needs.

Old and traditional food packaging materials like metal, glass, non-biodegradable plastics, and tinplate are all commonly used by many food businesses. And with the rise of technological advancement, new-age materials like sugarcane fiber (bagasse), and bioplastics have come into existence to give you more options with the food packaging material you can choose for your business.

If you have been looking to know more about the different types of food packaging material, this is the article for you. In this article, we will be giving you an in-depth analysis of a range of food packaging materials as well as their advantages and disadvantages. If that sounds like fun, let’s get right into it, shall we?

1. Paper and Paper Boards

2. Sugar Cane Fiber (Bagasse)

3. Plastic

4. Glass

5. Metal

6. Aluminum

Paper and Paper Boards

The discovery of paper dates far back to the 17th century, and without a doubt, it is one of the oldest food packaging materials on the list. Paper is best used for packaging dry food. But upon waxing, their application extends to wet and fatty foods.

Depending on the production method, paper can be produced as Kraft paper, greaseproof paper, sulphite paper, parchment paper or glassine. Kraft paper is the most popular in the food industry and is great for packaging flour, pastry, dried fruit, etc.

Good strength food-safe kraft paper package

Paperboard on the other hand is a paper-derived material that has all the features of paper. The only difference between paperboard and paper is the higher level of thickness in paperboards. They are generally thicker than paper and are superior in terms of rigidity and foldability.

Paper and paperboards are commonly used to make several food packaging like boxes, cartons, cups, wrapping paper, and so on. There are many good things about paper bags in the food, but one of its most important features is its eco-friendliness. 

Advantages of Paper

  • Bio-paper is eco-friendly
  • It is cost-effective
  • It is lightweight
  • It is recyclable
  • It is Reusable
  • Can be used to make several kinds of food packaging

Disadvantages of paper

  • It can easily be damaged by water or fire.

  • Sugarcane Fibre (Bagasse)

Apart from sugarcane fibre’s good use as animal feed, it is also an excellent material for producing different types of food packaging like bags, cups and bowls. It is also known as bagasse, and just as the name implies,  Sugarcane fibre is made from Sugar-cane.

It has so many great benefits, and as of now, it appears to be one of the most perfect food packaging materials out there. Its advantages and disadvantages include:

Advantages of Bagasse

  • It is biodegradable as opposed to a material like plastics.
  • It is grease and water-resistant.
  •  It is reusable and recyclable.
  • It is highly porous and perfect for storing fruits and veggies.
  • It can withstand high and low temperatures and is therefore safe for microwave and oven use.
  • It is sturdy and durable, making it a preferable choice over disposable plates and cups made from other materials. 

Disadvantages of Bagasse

Not many printing choices on the product.

  • Plastics

Plastics are made from organic polymeric materials that are moldable into any desired shape or size. In the food industry, they have been highly sought after for decades due to the cheap and short manufacturing process.

Traditional plastics are non-biodegradable, and because of the chemicals they are made of, they have been tagged to be quite unsafe for packaging food and even for the environment.

There are several varieties of plastics. However, they are mainly divided into compostable and non-biodegradable plastics.

Compostable plastics are biodegradable plastics, and unlike the traditional plastics, they are made with renewable raw materials, petrochemicals, micro-organisms or a combination of all three. Because of this, they are very expensive and unaffordable for many people.

Advantages of Plastics

  • It is versatile
  • It is durable
  • It is cheap 
  • Compostable packaging is biodegradable.
  • Plastics are lightweight

Disadvantages of Plastics

  • Despite the brilliant invention of biodegradable plastics, not all plastics are biodegradable, and this still poses a huge threat to the environment.
  • Non-biodegradable plastics contain a harmful substance that kills animals when they eat them.
  • Compostable plastics are very expensive.
  • Glass

Glass is one food packaging material that will not be getting old anytime soon. And because it is recyclable, it takes its spot at the top ranks of most preferred food packaging materials.

It is known for being inert to external gases, and hence, it is such a good food packaging material for foods that have to be tightly stored. Glass can be used to package and store foods like jams, jellies, pickles, wine, beer, whiskey, juices.

Advantages of Glass

  • It’s healthy and safe.
  • It is recyclable
  • It reduces the risk of food getting contaminated.
  • Food packaged in a glass container appears aesthetically pleasing.

Disadvantages of Glass

  • Glass is fragile and can be easily destroyed if not handled with care.
  • It is heavy 
  • Subject to damage with rapid temperature changes
  • Metal (Tin and Steel)

Metal is quite a broad word that represents many things, but in the food industry, metal mostly refers to tin and steel. Tin-coated steel cans or containers are opaque and are best suitable for foods that are sensitive to light.

<Picture of a canned food>

They are commonly used for the packaging of canned foods that are expected to have a long shelf life. The coating of metallic cans makes them highly resistant to corrosion even when used to package food with low ph.

Advantages of Metal

  • Highly durable
  • It is recyclable
  • Preserves food for a very long time

Disadvantages of Metal Packaging

  • Although cans are coated to avoid corrosion, there is still a risk of the packaging getting corroded.
  • The body of a stainless steel packaging gets easily smudged.
  • Tin and steel are heavy.
  • Aluminium

Aluminium packaging is simply aluminium foil that is made from very thin sheets of aluminium. It is a non-toxic and recyclable material suitable for a wide range of foods like meat, fish, milk, and liquid beverages.

<Picture of carbonated beverage in aluminium Cans>

It is soft metal famous for its ability to be bent into any shape. It is quite an interesting material with many intriguing advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Aluminum

  • It is lightweight
  •  It is a cheaper alternative to stainless steel.
  • Aluminium can be used to make flexible packaging like foil.
  • Aluminium cans are suitable for steam sterilization.
  • It is highly resistant to corrosion.
  • It is recyclable 

Disadvantages of Aluminum

  • Aluminium packagings are at risk of having wrinkles, rips and marks that might dent the appearance.
  • The process of recycling is intensive and very complicated.


As discussed earlier, there are different types of food packaging materials to choose from when considering what type of packaging you want for your business. It is now up to you to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the materials in this article and make your final decision.

If you are interested in food packaging kraft paper, feel free to go to our product page to check our food grade kraft series.

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