Halal Product Packaging
Package It Halal
When Halal is mentioned, many people think of Halal restaurants or Halal ingredients in food. But Halal encompasses many food and non-food sectors of the economy. Broadly speaking, it includes the entire supply chain. Packaging is an important determinant of Halal compliance. Why do we need packaging?
One Chance to Make a Lasting Impression
Product packaging is very important to consumer brands. Afterall, the package design is the consumer’s first impression of a product. It’s very important for the first impression to make a positive impact, spark interest and relay a message that the company wants to impart. It’s not unusual for brands to spend more on the packaging than on the contents. The goal is to create an immediate connection with the consumer and long-lasting brand loyalty.
Sealing Wrapping and Protecting
We often overlook the basic purpose of packaging. It is, of course, to protect the contents of the package. This is very similar to many consumer goods, like cars, or shoes. Often, more thought is put into the aesthetics than the functionality. For example, do consumers simply buy cars to take them from point A to point B? Do they buy any generic shoe simply to cover their feet? Packaging is much more than covering a product and preventing damage, but that is its basic function. Protecting the product is an important part of packaging.
A quick source of information
In very few words, the packaging tells consumers what the product is and what is inside the package. It explains how to use the product and/or gives directions. For food, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals, it provides ingredients, nutritional information, and more. Some product packaging is clear or there is a window so consumers can see exactly what they are getting. And of course, if a product and its packaging are Halal, it will often display the Halal logo on the package.
Besides introducing their product, differentiating, and positioning the brand, providing information, and attracting consumers, brands have other considerations in packaging. These include environmental sustainability of packaging as well as Halal compliance in packaging. More and more Halal consumers are interested in Halal, healthy and environmentally friendly packaging.
We know that packaging is necessary. That cannot be denied. But it also presents a challenge to environmental waste management. Most Halal consumers do not want to turn the earth into a massive garbage dump full of materials that are impossible to get rid of. Some plastic packaging materials are made up of numerous elements and recycling facilities cannot dismantle and recycle all of them. In addition, less than 15% of all plastics are recycled. There are some innovative ways of reusing packaging – for example, there is a company in Africa that builds houses out of discarded water bottles. But products like Styrofoam peanuts and plastic air pillows are not recyclable.
What to Avoid
The motto amongst recycling enthusiasts is ‘refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle’. The packaging types below are NOT recyclable:
- Mail Packaging
- Bubble wrap
- Padded shipping envelopes
- Styrofoam (like the molded material from electronics shipped in a box)
- Packing peanuts
- Air bags
- Ice pack packaging from meal prep kits like Blue Apron
Other Common Non-Recyclable Packaging
- Styrofoam meat trays
- Tetra-Pak® (like shelf-stable chicken broth and milk containers)
- Hot dog and burger wrappers that are shiny on one side, paper on the other
- Plastic wrap and plastic zip bags
- Stiff/crinkly plastic (example: cereal bags, cracker sleeves)
- Juice and fruit puree squeeze pouches
- Chip bags, granola bar wrappers, condiment packets
- Straws & plastic utensils
- Take-out containers (plastic or paper lined with plastic)
- Net bags (tangerines, avocados)
- Produce stickers
- Tea bags that have plastic wrapping the tea bag
- Most coffee maker coffee pods
- Recycled Paper
- Recycled Cardboard
- Plant based packaging (like mushroom, hemp)
- Re-usable packaging
For consumers, some solutions are not exactly innovative. They are almost historical, like going back in time. Going to farmers markets, buying direct from farms, bringing their own reusable bag to the grocer, buying meat and vegetables that are wrapped in paper, or planting and picking from backyard gardens and fruit trees.
More and more both Halal and vegan consumers are coming to realize that packaging contains animal derivatives. For example, adhesives can contain animal-based gelatine and often lubricants used in manufacturing plastic packaging use animal fats. Often people associate Halal with food products, but Halal, or permissibility applies to many product sectors like cosmetics, healthcare, services, flavors and colorings, storage and logistics, packaging and more.
The expanding Muslim population around the world, has knowledge about Halal products and services, as well as Halal certification. This is prompting large packaging companies to revamp their production methods and seek Halal certification. This makes good sense to global packaging manufacturers. Muslims are expected to account for an even larger part of the global population by 2030. This creates opportunities for companies who seek Halal certification for their packaging products. In addition, some companies are producing vegan packaging, and Halal certification can open doors to an even larger world vegan population.
Research shows that Halal status is more than simply about product ingredients; it’s also about supply chains and logistics. This includes product packaging transportation and storage. This is not limited to cross contamination; it includes the elements used in the manufacturing of packaging. Food packaging should not be made from non-Halal substances as it is considered najis (impure). In addition, it’s advisable not to use packaging that is environmentally unsustainable. Halal consumers around the world are expecting more environmentally friendly packaging, as non-recyclable plastics are wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of the earth. Halal compliance pertains to all sorts of packaging for food products, restaurants, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and more.
Islamic Services of America
Islamic Services of America (ISA) plays a large role in the Halal industry both as an educator and a certifier. ISA partners with companies that specialize in the production of all consumable and non-consumable products and certifies those that are found to be Halal compliant. ISA provides certification services to companies in the non-consumable categories of packaging, lubricants, minerals, filters.
Islamic Services of American (ISA) is a leading USA based Halal certification and auditing organization serving companies, the community, and the Halal industry for over 45 years. Contact ISA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ISA website for more information at www.isahalal.com
picture credit: istock.com