raspberries atop a cake

Food packaging for parents

So, food packaging. 

Or just packaging in general, but food packaging is my minor gripe.  Usually because there’s a toddler hanging off me or climbing up on chairs to open the fridge and remove something to ease his ‘I’m hungry’ plea.

I know food manufacturers have reasons for making their packaging the way they do.  I’ve worked for manufacturers on new products, I’ve worked with retailers so understand their needs.  I’m a shopper and consumer so know what they like and don’t like about packaging.  And now I work for a company who’s all about resource efficiency, so obviously packaging is way up their agenda to reduce waste.

But packaging really doesn’t allow for parents trying to open it while having young children around.

If you’re holding a child back and trying to remove something from the fridge, the items really need to be securely packed.  That means a lid.  Not like I’ve found on many an occasion, like blueberries which N loves;  they have a film lid.  All very well for a one use pack, but when N’s the only person in the house to eat them, either for snacks or on cereal, it means we dip in every day.  So if he’s grabbing at food in the fridge and I’m trying to hold him off while taking said opened pack out of the fridge…well, I think I need more fingers to count the number of times the blueberry pack has toppled and shot blueberries all over the kitchen floor.  I dread to think how many unreachable and now mouldy ones are living underneath our fridge!  So some kind of lid would be helpful, otherwise I’m going to have to start decanting soft fruit into Tupperware in the hope of keeping it upright.

raspberries atop a cake
Raspberries how they should be…atop a cake, not on the floor

In a similar vein, there’s yoghurts – easily dropped, especially when a child’s trying to open before transferring to the table; cartons of cream, the list goes on.

Crisp packets are another non-child friendly package.  Obviously easy for adults to open, but if you’re not quick enough, if the child is anything like N, a parent’s back is turned and they’re in the cupboard getting out scissors to cut the packs open.  At least now he’s very neat at doing that, but many a time I panicked as I saw him trying to pull them apart, and thinking we’d end up with crisps everywhere.

Then there’s bags of apples, done up with those silly sticker ties (bread too).  I usually just make a hole to get the fruit out, but N thinks they’re like loaves of bread and spends time bruising apples trying to open up the sticker closure.  Never going to happen child!  But I feel for the apples.  Thankfully, he’ll eat apples whether bruised or not, especially if they’re chopped up.

Then if we move away to food into the realms of security casing for scissors, knives, toiletries, you know the kind where you need the item inside to get into the plastic outer.  Argghhh, if N helps with unpacking our online delivery it’s a worrying time for me as he’s always interested in strange packaging and knows that a pair of scissors or knife will get him access.  I’m trying to teach him to wait and not just grab things himself if I’m taking longer than he’d like, but you can’t deny N food or interesting goodies for long!

Do you have issues with food packaging around children?  Or is it just me that sends food shooting across the floor in spectacular fashion?

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  1. Interesting points. I’ve never really thought about it to be honest as my kids have always had to ask for a snack and then waited until I’ve got it ready. I think having three has meant I’ve never really encouraged them to “help” so they’ve got used to waiting! They are all now pretty able to open most packaging themselves, although yoghurts still have the potential to make a mess!

    1. I’m pretty lax about N getting food. But mostly because it’s usually while I’m getting showered and dressed in a morning, so don’t have any way of stopping him without tying him to his bed. Yoghurts he can open fine (if they’re the multipacks of 4 as they’re easy to do), it’s more that he doesn’t concentrate while carrying them from the fridge

  2. You know what I’ve never even thought about this really. I just seem to put it in a dish with a lid if it does not work for me. I suppose it might be easier as my kis are older. Mich x

    1. It’s more that I get butterfingers trying to do lots at once. Opened packets don’t do the job, but I’m not trekking around trying to find a suitable size tupperware container that won’t let air in.

  3. I usually find them impossible to get off! I suppose they’re trying to stop the kids from opening it themselves but seriously, coleslaw is a mission!

    1. a ha, coleslaw. Yep, and even more annoying is if it gets tipped on the shop/delivery it gets all mucky around the lid too, but then is hard to remove!

  4. Yep, I feel the same as you really about it. Not sure what can be done though 🙁

  5. I like my fruit and veg in paper bags 🙂 My personal gripe is plastic packets with a film lid that have a tab. You pull the tab and the lid comes off…surely I can’t be the only one that it never works for and I have to get a knife or scissors to get in?

      1. I agree about the ham tabs they never work. I really dislike the bottles that have seals you are meant to be able to pull off but don’t work because there is not quite enough room to get a pair of scissors in.

  6. Interesting read, particularly as I am reading a few bloggers who have tried very hard to reduce their use of plastic over July – not really sure what the answer is with packaging.

    1. It’s definitely one of those dilemmas, especially with fruit and veg, most packaging is done that way to increase the life of products. Just the rubbish film lids are useless once open

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