Packaging of foodstuffs in Nigeria has become a big business because people cannot survive without eating food on a daily bases.
The business involves buying raw food like rice, garri, beans, Dried Crayfish, dried pepper in bulk then packaging them in to small quantities to be sold at retail prices.
Hence Packaging can be defined as the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use.
Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use.
In the ancient times the first packages used the natural materials available at the time: baskets of reeds, wineskins (bota bags), wooden boxes, pottery vases, ceramic amphorae, wooden barrels, woven bags, etc.
Processed materials were used to form packages as they were developed: for example, early glass and bronze vessels.
But in the modern times the methods used in packaging goods have been improved upon and they include;
Tinning: which involves the use of tin plates for packaging of goods
Canning: Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer
Paper-based packaging: A paper bag is a pre-formed container made from paper. They usually have an opening on one side for easy packaging.
Paper bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes and exist with or without handles for carrying. Often, paper bags are printed with store and/or brand logos.
Paper shopping bags, brown paper bags, paper grocery bags, paper bread bags and other light duty paper bags are made from a single layer of paper.
Other types of paper bags are made from multiple layers of paper and other flexible materials. Paper bags are ideal as a container to hold compostable waste.
They are readily compostable, as evidenced by its use throughout the country in municipal leaf mulching programs.
The type of packaging material that will be used to package any food is determined by the nature of food that is to be packaged.
Generally we have 3 types of packaging and they include:
Primary packaging: is the material that first envelops the product and holds it. This usually is the smallest unit of distribution or use and is the package which is in direct contact with the contents.
Secondary packaging: is outside the primary packaging, and may be used to prevent pilferage or to group primary packages together.
Tertiary or transit packaging: is used for bulk handling, warehouse storage and transport shipping. The most common form is a palletized unit load that packs tightly into containers.
These broad categories can be somewhat arbitrary. For example, depending on the use, a shrink wrap can be primary packaging when applied directly to the product, secondary packaging when used to combine smaller packages, or tertiary packaging when used to facilitate some types of distribution, such as to affix a number of cartons on a pallet
Requirements for starting packaging business in Nigeria:
Conduct feasibility studies: Another decision you have to make is buying a packaged food from a retailer or from a wholesaler.
Find information from veterans in similar field to know more about the challenges that come up with setting up a packaging business, so as to avoid being stranded and falling out of business in the future.
Legal backings: A business must have a legal operation so you need to get the requirements needed by the state for your business operation.
In some states for you to successfully operate food packaging business they will be requiring training in food handling.
Now, if you are planning to operate your business at the comfort of you four-cornered home, the Public Health Department will conduct an inspection to the food and as well as the to the place of food preparation.
If you plan to widen your horizon and to ship to other states, then you have to comply with the federal regulations.
Source of Capital: In any business, the capital is also very important. But you don’t have anything to worry about regarding this matter because the Small Business Association aids businessmen in offering both local and national information and resources on capital raising.
Location: The location of this business is also very important because this can be the first step for getting business license and permits according to Market Looks, a researcher. For you to know the required licenses and permits, the licensing office will be the one to inform you.
Hire labourers and professional workers: the team of employees that will work in the factory is also very important as they will be made to undergo special training sections on how to work with the food items to be packaged without contaminating them.
Also professional should also be employed so as to help around with maintain the equipment and conducting necessary chemical and biological test on the food stuffs to be packaged.
List of packaging equipment
1. A food dispenser
2. An Industrial sealing machine fitted to a table
3. Nylon, Cartons, tins for packaging.
4. Weighing scale
5. Tables and Chairs
6. Cartons for final packaging.
Power generator (between 2-5kva) is needed to power machines and other electrical equipment.
The processes of packaging food stuff includes;
1. The food items to be packaged eg garri, rice, beans, yam powder etc is poured into the mild steel dispenser.
2. The packaging nylon eg bag is held directly to the discharging point of the dispenser to feed in the product.
3. After filling the bag, take the product to the weighing scale and take note of the weight in kilo grams.
4. The final step is to seal the bagged product properly to prevent leakages or contamination using a sealing machine.
The type of packaging materials to be used in packaging is largely dependent on the food item to be packaged. And in any food packaging factory, the quickest source of contamination comes from the food handlers.
And if peradventure any food item packaged has been contaminated, the other food items packaged in that batch will be brought back to the factory to be destroyed, and this will bring about great losses, to avoid this proper training should be conducted for the factory employees.
Have a good source of capital before embarking on any business as no business can thrive without financial backings.
It is also important to know that the registration of the product to be packaged is very important. Therefore proper license should be gotten from a good government Agency and an example of such agencies in Nigeria are NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control) and SON (standard Organization of Nigeria).
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