Product Packaging: What to Look Out For?
When bringing a new product to market, the packaging can be as important as the ingredients used. The packaging does many things, including providing nutritional information, branding, and protection for your product. It also can play a significant role in prolonging the shelf-life of your product.
Understanding what packaging is best for your product and its impacts on shelf-life can be challenging. Fortunately, Medallion Labs has years of experience and expertise in stability testing to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s explore the types of tests available, cost implications, and other factors.
When Should I Begin Food Packaging Material Testing?
Food package testing comes near the end of your product development or reformulation process. Your item should have the variables dialed in, and the product should be “market-ready.” That includes knowing what food-safety risks your product may have and how those impact shelf life.
The other critical factor is understanding how sensory quality will be impacted by time and environmental conditions. For example, fresh produce will grow mold or break down at room temperature after a certain time. Colors can also change, as well as smell and texture. Medallion Labs also offers a catalog of sensory testing options should you desire it.
All of your product's physical attributes and expected changes over time should be understood. They establish a baseline to determine if, and to what extent, food packing may extend shelf life, allowing you to create an accurate code date.
What Types of Food Tests Should I Know About?
Medallion Labs has a wide range of testing options available. A few you may want to ask about as it relates to food packaging include:
Moisture Isotherm Test:
This test accurately determines how multi-component blends equilibrate over time by tracking isotherm behavior. Medallion Labs can use the data gathered to determine if a component of the packaging will get too dry or wet, thus impacting the color, consistency, and texture of the product.
Package Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR) Test:
Medallion Labs identifies the rate at which water vapors permeate a package. This can impact the physical attributes of a product. The WVTR test helps customers understand the impact of packaging materials and shipping conditions on their product without needing a shelf life study which is a larger investment of time and money.
What Food Packaging Testing Laboratory Challenges Can I Expect?
Knowing as much as possible about your product and testing goals helps Medallion Labs build the right plan for you. That is why we ask to know as much information from the client as possible upfront.
Information supports our team in creating ideal testing conditions and accurate testing results. It’s also beneficial in providing accurate pricing.
Our goals are always to generate accurate results and cost-effective food product testing. The best way to control costs is to avoid over-testing or conducting tests that deliver a broader scope of results than are necessary. Clients with very specific analytical needs should let us know upfront so we can build that into the protocol/quote.
Quick FAQs About Food Packaging Testing Methods
How long does testing for food product packaging take?
The duration of testing varies based on the situation. Most shelf-life studies require 6–18 months, with the initial time point within the first two months. Moisture isotherm and WVTR tests can be completed within a couple of months. Your particular timeline will be made clear when ordering your test.
Do you test packaging materials?
No. We test the product in the package, not the package itself. However, we can test products in a variety of packaging materials (ex: paper vs. plastic) to see how the shelf life and physical attributes are impacted.
Do you provide a packaging cost analysis?
No. We test for the impact packaging has on shelf life and physical properties. The choices about which packaging to use based on cost, performance, or other factors are up to the client.
Do you help the customer decide which packaging is best?
No. Medallion Labs testing will reflect the impact different packages have on a food product. We can’t determine which product is best. We provide the data points from which clients can make informed, accurate business decisions.
How much should I anticipate food product testing to cost?
The minimum starting budget for a study at Medallion Labs is $1,500. However, most of our shelf-life testing requests range between $3,000–5,000. If your budget is small, you may want to consider options such as a consulting call. There are also budgetary advantages to sending in multiple variants for testing simultaneously rather than splitting them into several projects.
Can Medallion Labs Test Products Within Food Packaging?
The quick answer is yes; in ideal circumstances, Medallion Labs can and does test food products in their packages. Of course, there can be limitations in some cases. However, those are rare and discussed case by case.
The client may still have options if we can’t test a food product in its package. Medallion Labs can help customers understand a number of food product aspects with packaging. While not a one-to-one substitute, these options may be suitable for the client’s needs.
Does Medallion Labs Have Food Package Testing for Safety?
Medallion Labs does not do anything related to food safety. We only assess sensory quality and nutritional quality over time. We assume that any food product is safe to eat when we design and conduct testing. If we sense a food item may be unsafe for consumption, we decline to accept the project.
How Do Medallion Labs' Testing Methods Ensure Accurate Results?
Medallion Labs understands the importance of accurate and reliable testing results. Using state-of-the-art testing ensures the most precise data possible.
Our experts follow strict protocols for sample preparation, analysis, and reporting. That minimizes variability and creates consistency across all tests. We also participate in proficiency testing programs. Those measure our laboratory accuracy in analyzing metals in food for safety and nutrition.
Whether you're a food manufacturer looking to ensure regulatory compliance or a consumer concerned about heavy metal exposure, trust Medallion Labs for accurate results.
Our Experts Make Food Packaging Testing Successful
When considering Medallion Labs for product testing to determine the implications of food product packaging and shelf life, we suggest referring to our tech data sheets. Those and our online order form will provide up-to-date details. Our breadth of testing options helps you maximize your testing budget by providing the results you seek in a cost-efficient manner. Medallion Labs is ready to use our testing options, expertise, and skills for your testing needs. Connect with us or call 1-800-245-5615 to discuss your food products' criteria and testing needs.