Conversations with a biochemical about packaging

You could not imagine in a million years, the science behind every product that you find in a supermarket, what we know as packaging.

Just a few days ago, in a meeting, I had the opportunity to speak to a biochemist. A scientist in a white coat and a certain air to Einstein that handles the daily production control of a company specialized in products made of fruit. His obsession to guarantee the conservation, traceability and quality of the product leads him to an almost unhealthy obsession.

We keep surreal arguments on molecular compositions, microbiology or technical processes to determine marketinian claims for packaging designs. Finding the midpoint between what the consumers will understand when they are in front of the supermarket shelves reading the label of a product and what a biochemist wants to explain, believe me, is a difficult task.

The, I asked him the following question:

-Imagine that I want to buy a jar of jam. I have two options:  first, I can go to a supermarket and buy a traditional jam from a multinational name. This jam will have gone through all control systems of process and traceability, additives are contemplated in labeling in accordance with the rules, during the processing all unimaginable hygienic measures will be taken (controlled atmospheres, air filtering, metal detectors, artificial vision machines, X-rays, deep, regular and patterned cleanings to every millimeter at the production rooms, special and aseptic clothing for the plant staff, pasteurization processes, strict regulations on flooring and walls material, continuous pest control…), isn’t it?

-All Right.

-On the other hand I can go to one of those traditional markets where artisans sell handmade jam jars, water bath sealed and labeled with a beautiful handwritten label. Because the ‘eco’ culture, which is taking root in society since some years ago, has also permeated me.

-Aha.

– If I compare the two jars of jam I can get lots of information (sorry, all the information) about the jam from the supermarket. However, I know almost nothing about the other. What hygiene guarantees were used during processing? How do I know where the fruit comes from or what sulfates were used?

-Okay. You just don’t know. But it is an emotional purchase.

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