Packaging Innovation
cellophane packaging
December 8, 2014

Is cellophane set to make a comeback in food packaging?

Come Christmas, cellophane bags are everywhere. Your carefully selected Christmas chocolates are probably wrapped in cellophane paper and most of your Christmas groceries are too. Cellophane is ideal for wrapping oddly shaped gifts, yet its popularity in the food packaging industry has been dwindling for years. Still, hope may be just around the corner.

What is cellophane?

Cellophane is a thin, transparent sheet made of regenerated cellulose. Its low permeability to air, oils, greases, bacteria and water makes it a suitable material for packaging all kinds of foods – not to mention for all your colorful Christmas gifts!

Cellophane bags were often used to package candy, vegetables and convenience foods. Potato chips used to be wrapped in cellophane too, providing a nice sparkle to the package while also maintaining a good rigidity when sitting on the shelf. Cellophane is also easy to tear, reseal and print.

The disadvantage of cellophane

And yet, many packaging companies have abandoned cellophane in favor of another highly popular packaging material: polypropylene. Why? Because cellophane performs poor at low temperatures – a must for food packaging. It also has a limited shelf life, not to mention the pricing issues. In recent years, cellophane has become really expensive, more expensive than most other types of plastic.

Which is precisely why cellophane as a food packaging material has become less popular over the years. As mentioned before, polypropylene has replaced cellophane to a large degree. For a while cellophane and polypropylene were used in conjunction, thus a ply of cellophane was laminated to a ply of propylene. Now, however, cellophane is mostly abandoned altogether.

Is cellophane set to make its comeback?

Still, cellophane’s role in the food packaging industry may be far from over. Cellophane is attempting a comeback based on environmental considerations. Testing has shown that cellulosic films, even if these are PVDC coated, are biodegradable, while most other types of plastic are non-degradable.

Think about that when you’re opening your cellophane wrapped Christmas goodies!

Happy Christmas from all of us at Esko …