21st century, a fast paced world where time is money. Saving time can simply be presumed as saving money. Today a popular technique to save time (for making money of course) is banking on packaged food. Packaged food is no more uncommon and has revolutionized the market through its business and technological advances.
Packaged foods are considered the best alternative for cooking. Living in a hostel has made me dependant on them to quite some extent. Here, I would like to highlight some pros and cons of packaged food. But before talking about them let’s know about some of the packaged food items. These are ready to eat meals, instant mixes, canned food, vegetables and fruits, chutney pastes etc.
First let’s talk about its pros. Packaged foods are considered a boon for people living away from home. They are ready to eat at any point of the day. Also they are convenient to keep and store. They need not be wrapped nor kept in containers for storing.
They are found safer and less vulnerable to contamination than the unpackaged food. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have their doubts on the safe use of recycled packaging, yet they are known to be safe. The shelf life of such food products is more. They last longer and stay fresh for a longer period.
The food quality of packaged food is better as it packing provides protection from physical and environmental damage during handling, transport and storage of foods. Packaging such as glass, aluminium or plastic containers prolong the shelf life of their contents. Last but not the least is the convenience quotient. They save our time and effort from shopping to preparations and cooking as well.
After talking about all these benefits let’s have a look at their disadvantages. Food packaging results in a lot of waste. It has accounted for a large amount of waste in US. Packaging accounts for a percentage of all food manufacturers’ costs, therefore increasing the final cost of the food and making it more expensive than unpackaged food.
The biggest disadvantage is the effect of packaged food on health. According to www.sustainabletable.org, food additives and artificial flavours that are commonly included in packaged foods may not only reduce or worsen the flavour, but may also prove to be unhealthy and/or unsafe for human consumption. Some of these possible health risks include unexpected allergic reactions, indigestion and increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases such as lung or heart disease. However to solve this issue, many products are required to have the FDA food label. These labels not only provide a list of all ingredients, as well as expiry dates, but also nutrition facts such as serving size and vitamin and mineral content.
In the end it could be said that like all other the things packaged food also has its positive and negative characteristics. And as said too much of everything is bad, it goes true for this as well. It is for us to decide to what extent we will indulge in these food items.