By: John Maico M. Hernandez, DOST-PSTC Batangas

TechSilog Online Seminar Series of the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Batangas showcased the Food Packaging Technology Essentials in its fourth episode for Season 4 which gathered 154 participants via Zoom platform and Facebook Live, May 28.

Participants came from different sectors composed majority of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in food manufacturing. The discussion was led by Ms. Ma. Lorelie P. Dorado, member of DOST CALABARZON Food Safety Team, a ServSafe-certified Food Protection Manager, and a registered Chemical Technician.

The seminar was framed on the purpose of knowing the classification of the food being processed, realizing the type of packaging material to be used, and identifying the technology for the appropriate packaging materials for specific food products. As an introduction, scholarly definitions of packaging technology and the different packaging functions such as to contain & carry, to protect and preserve, to identify and communicate, and to make packaging cost-effective were presented.

Ms. Dorado touched on the technicalities of packaging materials and highlighted the primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging classifications and the properties and characteristics of the five common packaging materials for finished products. These materials include glass, metal, plastic, flexibles, and paper/paperboard. Plastic resin codes or the numbers inside the recycling symbols were explained and linked on their environmental effects. All of the food manufacturers participating the seminar were encouraged to inform their customers about the proper wastes segregation to avoid environmental issues and concerns. Other topics discussed include product package compatibility aimed at ensuring that packaging materials are appropriate to particular products.

Moving forward, Ms. Dorado provided some tips to remember when selecting appropriate packaging materials for food products which include knowing the product, how it can be damaged, product marketing plan, and product distribution hazard. She also presented some technologies used in packaging such as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), stand up pouch packaging, and packaging for ethnic food under retort process.

The “ConsulTalk” segment of the seminar allowed the participants to ask their questions and concerns to the speaker. Questions raised were about the sustainable forms of packaging and the ways to keep competitive product price with assured quality through appropriate packaging. 

Engr. Francisco R. Barquilla III, OIC Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations of DOST CALABARZON, stressed the significance of adopting appropriate packaging technologies to safeguard the quality and shelf-life of products aside from making a brand to increase product marketability and customer satisfaction. On the other hand, Ms. Felina C. Malabanan, PSTC Batangas Provincial Director, cited three key advantages of having good packaging which are: (1) it makes your product unique and eye-catching; (2) it communicates your message, values, product info; and (3) it provides brand recognition and identity.