Thursday, October 14, 2010

Packaging and preserving

I've written a lot about packaging in the past, but I'd like to share with you a study I read recently on the value of packaging and preservation.

When we're packaging our products, we need to think of the end user, how she will treat the product once it reaches her house or car. We need to consider how she might contaminate the product, especially those found in jars or screw top containers.

This study used poorly and well preserved products to maximize the contamination of the products. The chart on page two of the PDF should make you shudder. The contamination of both the unpreserved lotion and shampoo on day one found levels too numerous to count!

This study tested the contamination of shampoo with three different caps - the screw cap, the flip top, and the slit cap (or disc cap). The screw cap containers had the most contamination (29%) followed by the slit cap (21%) and the flip top (0%).

The study also tested contamination of lotions with three different caps - the screw cap, the flip cap and pump. The screw cap tested very poorly (79%), the flip cap tested poorly as well (39%), and while the pump tested the lowest (10%).

So what does this mean for us? It means we need to preserve our products well with a good and reliable preservative, add an anti-oxidant to retard rancidity, and follow good manufacturing practices like heating and holding for everything we make. And it means we need to choose our packaging well. Leave the screw caps for maple syrup and other cooking goodies, and go with the disc cap, flip top, or pump every time. Malibus might be a good choice - they didn't study those - as it's unlikely your end user will leave it open for the beasties to feast!

And this brings me to jars! I love jars for my body butters, intense conditioners, scrubs. and whipped butters, but there's a good chance the end user - which is mostly me and my friends - will contaminate it somehow. Good instructions on your jars - wash hands before using, do not let water drip into the scrub, do not let the dog lick it - can help ensure your end user is using the product the right way. But let's be honest, there have been times when you want to slather on a little body butter before going to bed and you haven't washed your hands in a few hours...what do you do there? Good preserving won't wash away all your sins, but it will certainly ensure you see numbers that aren't too numerous to count when it comes to contaminant counts!

Packaging links...
Choosing the right container for your product. 
Alternatives to bottles.
Non-container options and labelling.

Join me tomorrow for more about preservatives!


Adeleke Adeola said...

Please what preservative can i use for washing up liquid .Thanks

Adeleke Adeola said...

Please what preservative can i use for washing up liquid .Thanks

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Adeleke! Check out the preservatives section of the blog and see what's recommended for an anionic surfactant blend that contains water.