A contributor to the Financial Times recently observed that the rise of the package has temporarily outstripped the rise of the “ profession or calling ” of packaging. It was for this reason that the Institute of Packaging organised the very interesting exhibition held at Olympia during the third week of January. The packaging of foodstuffs was necessarily one of the most important sections of the Exhibition—for reasons which are not hard to grasp. Not only has the consumption of bottled beer outstripped draught sales from barrels, but a whole host of foods have moved and continue to move into the domain of packed merchandise. For the moment it will suffice to mention sugar, flour, confectionery, bread, butter, cheese, bacon, vegetables, fruit, and even (occasionally) meat and fish. It has been estimated that the grocery trade sells nearly 80 per cent of its goods in packages. For the consumer, the packaging of food promises quality, purity and freshness, and, within certain limits, full weight and measure. In self‐service retailing, of course, the package is all‐important. Not only does the appearance of the package and its label take the place of the salesman in the retail shop, but the wrapping must also be a barrier which will be a safeguard against excessive evaporation, without inducing mould growth, and against decomposition and stateness. Conditions of moisture, humidity, temperature and pressure may be critical for the preservation of foods in the best possible state. There are dangers arising not only from the effect of the packaging material on the food but also from the reverse influence of the food on the container.
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