Beyond Function: A Journey Through the History of Packaging
Beyond Function: A Journey Through the History of Packaging
10 November 2023 - by: Dorina Lisnic

Beyond Function: A Journey Through the History of Packaging

The evolution of packaging has mirrored the journey of humanity from prehistoric times to the present day. Once simple containers for the preservation and transport of goods, packaging has now become an essential tool in the distribution and logistics chain. Its transformation is a testament to the advancement of our societies and the progression of the economy and technology.

Beyond Function: A Journey Through the History of Packaging

Origins in Prehistory
Packaging dates back to prehistoric times, an era when human ingenuity turned elements of nature into tools for survival. Materials like large leaves, nutshells, and seashells were the precursors to modern packaging. These natural containers were crucial for the transport and protection of food supplies and valuables. For instance, hollowed and dried gourds became vessels or flasks, while the hides of hunted animals were transformed into sturdy bags and wraps.

Egyptian Innovation
The Egyptians elevated the art of packaging, primarily through the use of papyrus: this flexible yet durable material was employed to wrap and protect various items, from sacred writings to valuables. Clay containers and alabaster jars, often sealed with lead or wax lids, were used to preserve oils, grains, and wine, demonstrating a deep understanding of conservation techniques. Amphorae, with their elongated shape and narrow necks, were designed for the safe transportation of liquids during long voyages along the Nile or across the Mediterranean.

The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution transformed and modernized the ways of preserving, transporting, and selling products. Mass production, powered by steam energy and mechanization, introduced the use of paper and cardboard packaging, making them accessible and affordable for the first time. Corrugated cardboard, invented in the mid-19th century, revolutionized the transport of goods by offering superior protection and stackability, thereby reducing the risk of damage during the movement of large quantities of products. Large-scale glass production and the introduction of metal containers like soldered tin allowed for long-term food preservation, radically changing eating habits and food storage. With the invention of the glass jar and the pasteurization process, for the first time, foods such as fruits, vegetables, and meats could be preserved for months or even years.

Promotional Function of Packaging
Today packaging has become a true communication tool that can influence consumer purchasing decisions. Quality packaging has the power to elevate a brand's image, making it irresistible and desirable to consumers' eyes.

The Supply Chain
Standardization of packaging and palletization are fundamental strategies to increase efficiency in the supply chain. The adoption of uniform and consistent packaging significantly simplifies production processes while reducing packaging costs through economies of scale and improving storage space management. Palletization, in particular, facilitates loading and unloading operations, minimizing the risk of damage and ensuring safer movement and efficient shipping.

FERCAM, a leader in the transportation and logistics sector, is continually committed to innovation and the adoption of increasingly sustainable practices. Discover more about our solutions for eco-friendly packaging and custom e-commerce packaging.