Ways To Protect Packaged Foods From UV Light

Ways To Protect Packaged Foods From UV Light

There are many concerns in the packaging industry when it comes to protecting the products inside. This is especially pertinent to the food industry because many variables, such as UV degradation, can affect the quality of the food inside. Protecting packaged foods from UV light is highly important.

If you need to protect your products from this damage, keep reading. We’ll go over how UV light affects packaged foods, the methods that can correct this issue, and how Golden West Packaging can help!

How Does UV Light Affect Packaged Foods?

Exposing your packaged foods to sunlight and artificial light with ultraviolet rays could pose some consequences to your business and your products. UV light can decrease vitamin potency and overall nutritional value in products, fade color, and degrade flavors and aromas.

The bottom line is that leaving your products vulnerable to UV light will shorten their shelf lives and lower their quality, which is never great for your brand. Therefore, you want to consider the following methods as effective preventative measures to protect your food products from UV damage.

Darker-Colored Plastics Method

Traditionally, many manufacturers used darker-colored plastic—including blues, blacks, and browns—to help block UV rays. In some cases, graphics on the plastic could also block harmful light. However, due to the opacity in color, the level of light absorption could heat the plastic, which could still spoil and harm the food or beverage inside.

Plus, not all brands and companies like the look and feel of this colored plastic, so they choose other UV light–fighting methods. Many consumers also turn toward clear packaging because they can clearly see what they’re buying inside. Therefore, industries benefit from using different technologies and methods to help block UV light.

UV Stabilizers and Preservatives

Another option you could consider is adding UV stabilizers and preservatives to your foods to help prevent harmful rays from ruining your products. However, this still isn’t your greatest option because of a few setbacks. Namely, this method will be an extra expense, and it requires incorporating additives into your ingredients, which tends to deter consumers.

The desire for products today includes simple and natural ingredients. UV stabilizers and preservatives are additives that diminish the trust and transparency in this. Still, there are better ways to incorporate UV light–fighting methods to better preserve food products.

UV Absorbers

The best way to combat UV degradation in packaged food products is to add UV absorbers into clear PET (polyethylene terephthalate) packaging. The ideal filter you add to this plastic material will absorb and protect against wavelengths above 320 nanometers. For maximum protection, the filters should absorb as close as possible to the UV transition region, which is 380–400 nanometers.

Organic UV absorbers, such as benzophenones, are the most popular options to protect food products. However, manufacturers have recently begun incorporating inorganic compounds into packaging, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Protecting Against 400 Nanometers

Unfortunately, UV absorbers or filters above cannot protect a product against stronger wavelengths of light. Fragrances, color, and vitamins become susceptible if UV light is over 400 nanometers. Some ingredients are even vulnerable to the visible portion of the light spectrum.

For example, milk or wine and spirits experience this. To help combat UV degradation in these products, you can add a colorant to the packaging on top of UV filters. Sometimes, using two different methods to fight UV exposure is better than one!

The Benefits of UV Absorbers

There are many benefits of using UV absorbers and filters in your packaging materials. The primary advantages include sustaining the integrity of the product, extending the product’s shelf life, and supporting sustainable efforts with cleaner methods. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

Product Integrity

A big part of brand identity coincides with the taste or color of a product. Imagine your favorite cracker or soda. Would it still look the same if the color was fading from the packaging? As the consumer, you would immediately notice a change in the packaging. UV absorbers can help with brand identity and the integrity of your products by preventing UV light from ruining the quality and image.

Longer Shelf Life

Do you remember the milk we mentioned above? Without the proper UV filters within the packaging, the milk in your fridge and in the store will spoil much quicker because the vitamin C begins to degrade. However, incorporating these filters in your packaging can help extend the shelf life of milk.

Vitamins, minerals, and other additive ingredients are the first to degrade with exposure to UV light. This can make a product non-compliant with the US Food and Drug Administration because vitamins must remain at or above the level printed on the label. If UV rays minimize these vitamins, the label could become inaccurate; thus, your product becomes misbranded. This is why we add UV filters to our product packaging.

Supporting Sustainable Efforts

The clean label movement embodies the desire for clean products. This essentially means only adding organic and natural ingredients to your food products. UV filters support sustainable efforts by eliminating the need for additives and preservative ingredients in your products to help protect against UV light. Furthermore, dark plastic lessens the value of recycled and reclaimed plastic. Therefore, adding UV absorbers to clear PET plastic is the most sustainable method in this industry!

How Golden West Packaging Incorporates UV Filters

At Golden West Packaging, we understand the importance of using UV filters in your packaged foods to protect them from UV light. When you design custom-printed food packaging with our company, you have the option to add UV coatings to your packaging to help fight against UV degradation. While there are many ways to protect your products against UV degradation, adding UV filters to clear PET packaging is the cleanest way to protect your brand’s reputation and your products from damage. Do this with Golden West Packaging! Protect your products, reinforce your brand, and support the clean label movement with our UV coating technologies! The items you sell deserve the utmost protection to remain high-quality products for customers.

Ways To Protect Packaged Foods From UV Light