As I walk through various streets in Nairobi, the crowded Muthurwa, the City Market, the famous Eastleigh markets and within various estate in the neighborhoods, on either side are vendors selling all sorts of household goods, both consumable and inconsumable, both perishable and imperishable.
Various shoppers are busy looking for something worth to be bought among the numerous stalls lined along the streets while others are just window shopping. Something conspicuous is the way perishable foods, fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts have been packaged. Plastic. This is the only way most goods have been packaged.
Within the industry, this is called primary packaging. This is the term used for packaging that has direct contact with the product; in other words, it is the first packaging layer in which the product is contained. For instance, how is beef, mutton wrapped after shopping? How does the small groundnuts’ seller package the nuts after roasting? Plastic paper is used and it has the direct contact with it. The same applies when one buys milk from the milk bar, mandazi among other food items.
It is important to understand why primary packaging is important. Primary functions of primary packaging include:
- Protective function
- Storage function
- Loading and transport function
First, the protective function of packaging essentially involves protecting the contents from the environment. This protect the goods from loss, damage and theft. This kind of packaging ensures the goods withstand the many different static and dynamic forces to which it is subjected during transport, handling and storage operations.
The goods frequently also require protection from climatic conditions, such as temperature, humidity, precipitation and solar radiation.
The outward protection provided by the packaging must prevent any environmental degradation by the goods. This kind of packaging prevents any contamination, damage or other negative impact upon the environment and other goods. For instance, beef, milk, nuts need to be packaged well to avoid contamination.
For the storage function, the packaging materials and packaging containers required for producing packages must be stored in many different locations both before packaging of the goods and once the package contents have been used. Packaging must thus also fulfill a storage function.
Loading and transport function, on the other hand, enables convenient goods handling entails designing transport packaging in such a manner that it may be held, lifted, moved, set down and stowed easily, efficiently and safely.
In conclusion, primary packaging is essential for both the industrial and non-industrial sectors in terms of safety of the product that has been packaged, for display factors, food preservation, for transportation and above all to attract the buyer to trust the product being used.