Henkel adhesive solutions for the packaging industry
Protecting brands and consumers
Every day, we encounter different types of packaging. The world of food packaging is particularly diverse, if we think of e.g. confectionery and ice cream packaging, mayonnaise sachets, potato chips bags, coffee packaging, or juice and soup pouches.
While packaging components such as printing inks, paper, board and foils are typically the most prominent elements, the adhesive used often remains a “forgotten layer”, although being an integral part of the overall packaging design. In fact, adhesives play an important role in various packaging operations such as paper and board laminating or bonding of bags and pouches, flexible packaging of chips for example, straw attachment or final bonding of cartons and labeling of glass bottles or labels on fruits.
In these and many other applications, the adhesive is an essential component of the packaging design as it helps to e.g. preserve freshness of the food and to protect the food from possible contamination. These are ever-important topics, with consumer safety being the key objective of the food and related industries.
Migration in food packaging is a key topic
Within the context of food packaging and consumer health, the topic of migration has been of particular interest. On a general note, migration is the transfer of substances from the packaging into the food and vice versa. All packaging materials, e.g. paperboard, printing ink or adhesive, but also the storage surrounding, can contribute to migration. This interaction may cause a contamination that can lead to a quality loss of the packed food, and it can even make the foodstuff inedible. To avoid such a scenario, migration should be reduced to a minimum level possible.
Regulatory framework on food safety and food packaging
With this in mind, it is also vital to know about the legislation on food safety and food packaging. In the European Union Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 lays down general food safety requirements, according to which any company bringing food to the market is responsible to ensure that it is safe for ingestion. Furthermore, food business operators have an obligation to withdraw unsafe food from the market.
In Europe, however, there currently is no specific legislation concerning adhesives, but topics such as compliance and food contact materials – defined by the European Commission to include e.g. packaging materials or containers for transporting food – have been put forward by legal requirements. The European legislation, for example, demands to carry out so-called risk assessments on each stage of the packaging supply chain. As a producer of packaging adhesives, Henkel is part of the supply chain for food contact materials and is thus obliged to perform a risk assessment for its products. Following the European regulatory framework, particular responsibilities along the value chain include adhesive suppliers, who need to make a risk assessment on the adhesive. This process aims at providing adequate information to the next stage of the supply chain to help carrying out a proper, individual risk assessment and, ultimately, ensuring maximum food and consumer safety.
A strategic partner in enhancing food safety and brand value
Henkel is aware of the necessity of adhesive solutions for food safe packaging and has made this one of its guiding principles. With the launch of the global Packaging Portal and the Food Safe Packaging Initiative, Henkel continues to drive forward its focus on this crucial topic. Henkel is not only providing a portfolio of safe adhesives for food packaging committed helping to protect brands and consumers, but at the same time offering innovative solutions that contribute to the most recent demands and trends of the packaging industry, such as On-the-go & home-delivery packaging with a focus on lighter weight and convenient transportation, personalized packaging, eco-friendly packaging and smart packaging or digitalized packaging which gives consumers enhanced access to product information and producers augmented traceability and protection against theft. Another trend is related to user-friendly packaging with a focus on easy-to-open mechanisms and reclosability.
Henkel has been a strategic partner to the packaging industry for decades, offering adhesive innovations and related services that help to enhance, protect and increase the brand value of its global customer base, among others packaging manufacturers and FMCG companies. Furthermore, Henkel is a key player around education on food safe packaging related topics. This is reflected in the Food Safety Training Center where Henkel offers interactive webinars, expert E-Learning sessions, or an extensive packaging glossary with valuable explanations on the most important terms with regard to food safe packaging.