Packaging is important, especially if you are selling in retail market. First of all the packaging should appeal to the customer with its design and size, it should protect saffron from outside influence and damage, and provide consumers with product information. Secondly you should consider if the packaging is convenient to use, does it maintain the saffron well, and what is the environmental impact of the package.
Why Saffron Needs a Packaging
Package should protect saffron externally and internally.
Most importantly the package should protect saffron from external physical, biological, and chemical influences.
Physically the package will protect the merchandise from dangers during the transportation. Saffron should be protected from temperature changes, impact and vibration. Also keep in mind the importance of the package during distribution storage, and consumer usage. It should be durable in stocking and usage. Saffron is expensive commodity, it makes sense to invest in quality when choosing the package.
Biologically the package should protect it from microorganisms, insets, rodents, and other animals. This prevents from spoilage and disease. Saffron’s self life is couple of years. Package can help a lot in doing so.
Chemically the environment can influence the qualities of saffron. Moisture, light, and oxygen can trigger deterioration of saffron’s taste, smell and coloring characteristics. To keep its qualities, internally, saffron should be kept in airtight, dark, and chill environment.
Keep in mind consumer behavior and convenience of using the packing.
People – that is, consumers are emotional creatures. Studies have revealed our minds are busy with emotions, not reason when it comes to choosing products from the shelves. Saffron is commodity item and it is difficult to differentiate from the competition, except by quality, price, and packaging. So keep in mind your business model, and who are your customers when designing the package. Where are they located, are you going after mass market, or rich people, etc. People are choosing with their senses, eyes, touch, smell, taste and sound.
Package features such as ease of access, handling, product visibility, and ability to reseal influence the convenience of using the product. As you can see, package plays a huge role in how easy it is to consume the saffron. These types of convenience features add value and competitive advantages when selling to retail customers.
On the package label keep room for the saffron product information.
For instance, you can use larger labels to accommodate cooking recipes. Packaging labels also provide information to the consumers. Packages are used to indicate nutritional value, shelf life, ingredient declaration, net weight, and manufacturer information. These informations may impact early saffron and package disposal, as product is used more wisely.
Saffron Packaging Materials
Package design plays an important role in the shelf life of the saffron. The selection of packaging materials and technologies can determine saffron’s quality and freshness during the distribution and storage. Materials that have traditionally been used in saffron packaging are glass, metal (tinplate), plastics, and paper. To add exclusivity, sometimes wood is used as well.
Making the glass containers constitutes heating a mixture of silica, sodium carbonate, and calcium carbonate and alumina to very high temperatures until the materials melt into a thick liquid mass that is then poured into molds. Recycled glass is also used in to make new glass and accounts for as much as 60% of all raw materials. Glass is highly recycled package material.
Glass is chemically inert with virtually every food product, including saffron. Moreover, saffron need the inert package material not to lose its qualities. Glass package is hermetic to gases and vapors, it maintains saffron freshness for a long period of time. Glass is rigid, provides good insulation, and is flexible to be produced in different shapes. The glass allows consumers to see the saffron’s quality. It is important to understand glass packaging is reusable and recyclable.
However, glass has some disadvantages. It is heavy and adds to transportation costs. It is brittle and may break from pressure, impact, or thermal shock.
Metal (Tin Container)
Metal is offering different options to make a package. It gives excellent physical protection from external influences, it has good formability and decorative potential, it is recyclable. It has qualitative image amongst the consumers.
Tinplate packages are used for saffron threads. Tinplate is made of blackplate, then coated from both sides with thin layers of tin. Tinplate containers are usually lacquered to provide an inert barrier between the metal and the saffron.
In addition to its excellent barrier properties to gases, water vapor, light, and odors, tinplate package is heat-treated and sealed hermetically, making it suitable for sterile saffron. Tinplate is an excellent material for modern metal graphical decoration. It can be easily printed. Its low weight and high mechanical strength make it durable to ship and store. Tinplate is recyclable.
Plastics are made by condensation polymerization, or addition polymerization of monomer units. Sounds chemical? Well, plastics is highly manipulated chemistry. Thou, there are many advantages to using plastics for saffron packaging. It can be made into different shapes, and it offers considerable design flexibility. Plastics is inexpensive and lightweight with a wide range of physical and optical properties. In fact, many plastics are sealable, easy to print. The major disadvantage of plastics is their variable permeability to light, gases, vapors, and low molecular weight molecules.
There have been some health concerns regarding residual monomer and components in plastics, including stabilizers, plasticizers, and condensation components. To ensure safety, public officials carefully review and regulate what is allowed in making plastic packages. There is a danger of chemical components to migrate into saffron from plastic package. Therefore it should be made sure the packaging meets all requirements to be used as food package.
Despite the safety concerns, the use of plastics packaging has continued to increase due to the low manufacturing costs.
In saffron retail packages paper is mainly used to decorate the core of the package, which usually is glass, tin, or plastic container. The outer paper package features printed design and product information.
Paperboard is used to make containers for shipping—such as boxes, cartons, and trays.