Cereals or grains belong to the
monocot families ‘Poaceae or
Gramineae’ and are cultivated widely
to obtain the edible components of
their fruit seeds. Botanically, these
fruits are called ‘caryopsis’ and are
structurally divided into endosperm,
germ, and bran. Cereal grains are
cultivated in huge quantities and
provide more food energy than any
other type of crop, therefore, they
are known as staple crops.
The most familiar grains used for making the category of
Different types of rice include:
Long grain rice Medium grain rice Short grain rice Jasmine rice
Basmati rice Rose matta rice Red cargo rice
Black rice Dark wild rice
There are six wheat classifications: 1) hard red winter, 2) hard red spring, 3) soft
red winter, 4) durum (hard), 5) hard white, and 6) soft white wheat.
Hard red winter
Soft red winter
Hard red spring
Pearl Millet Foxtail Millet
World cereal production in 2015 is currently forecast at 2,534 million tones.
The major cereals production include rice at 1.9 million tones and wheat at 735
Global cereal production
Rank Country Production (Metric tones)
1 China 422,599,164
2 United States 387,397,546
3 India 226,330,000
4 Russia 74,465,000
5 France 69,676,000
Source: FAOSTAT data,2014
There are five clear market leaders whose positions have remained unchanged.
Cereal partners (Collaboration between General mills and Nestle)
Ralcorp Holdings in collaboration with Post holdings, Inc.
% Market share
Cereals and cereal products are significant and important human food resources
and livestock feeds worldwide. In the United States the recommended intake of
cereals is 6–11 servings a day of which at least 3 servings should consist of a
variety of cereals in foods.
Cereal products derived from cereal grains include:
Wheat, rye, and oat flours.
In addition, cereal products are used as ingredients in numerous
products, such as batters and coatings, thickeners and
Whole cereals where only the husk of the grain is
removed, e.g. rice, wheat etc.
Milled grain products are made by removing the bran and
usually the germ of the seed and then crushing the kernel
into various sized pieces. These include wheat flour, all
purpose flour, semolina, etc.
Processed cereal based products include weaning food,
breakfast cereals, etc.
Ready mixes include cake mix etc.
According to a 2014 General Mills survey, US people eat 48% more
whole grains now than in 2009. A whole grain stamp has been created
and is appended on nearly 10,000 products. The whole grains
movement is driving demand for ancient grains such as amaranth,
buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum and brown rice.
The cereals are low moisture commodities due to which they are less
susceptible to spoilage and have greater shelf-life. The spoilage mainly
occurs due to moisture absorption during storage leading to fungal
growth at high temperature and humidity. Before bulk packaging and
storage, the whole grains are fumigated to reduce microbial load and
increase storage period. The factors influencing the quality of cereals
Physical losses are caused by spillages, which occur due to use of
faulty packaging materials.
Physiological losses include respiration and heating in grains,
temperature, humidity and oxygen.
Biological losses occurs due to micro-organisms, insects, rodents, etc.
The sources of contamination in cereals are:
Natural microflora of harvested cereals.
At initial stages, the grains are contaminated by Pseudomonas,
Micrococci, Lactobacillus and Bacillus.
Spoilage of stored grains by molds is attributed to the following factors:
Type and number of microorganisms
Moisture content of more than 12-13%
Bread is a major product prepared using flours. Spoilage of bread is usually of
two types viz. moldiness and ropiness.
Contamination usually occurs when cooling is done as well as during packing,
handling and from the environment. The molds which are prevalent
are Rhizopus stolonifera (referred as bread mold), Penicillium expansum,
Aspergillus niger. Mucor and Geotrichum also develop.
Ropiness in bread is usually due to Bacillus subtilis or B. licheniformis and is
considered more prevalent in home made breads.
Another type of spoilage of bread is chalky bread which is caused by growth
of yeast like fungi Endomycosis fibuligera and Trichosporon variable.
An unusual spoilage of bread is Red or Bloody bread, which is due to the
growth of bacteria Serratia marcescens.
Many cereal products are dry and contain lipids. They are stable against
microbial growth due to their lower water activity (aW < 0.6), but not
against chemical and enzymatic reactions that result in product
deterioration. The most important modes of deterioration in cereal
products are loss of crispiness and lipid oxidation causes rancidity/off-
Loss of crispiness: During storage or upon opening of the package due
to moisture uptake.
Lipid Oxidation: Fat is used in most products as processing aid or flavor
inducer and this causes lipid oxidation. Generally products made from
wheat, barley, rice and maize (lipid content 1.5–2.0%) have longer shelf
life than those made from oats (lipid content 7%). The susceptibility of
cereal products to lipid oxidation is associated with the concentration
and type of fat used and the number of unsaturated bonds in fatty
The packaging must contain and preserve a certain quantity of
product as efficiently as possible and also must protect its
contents from external threats including spoilage, breakage,
damage from external environmental conditions, pilfering and
theft. Primary, secondary and tertiary packaging must be
designed so that the product stays in perfect condition until it
reaches the end user. The package must be strong and durable
enough to protect the product with a reasonable safety margin.
For distribution, several
primary packages are
Several secondary packages
are placed in a unit load.
Source: C. Brookes and K. Vrolijk, Soil association.
Choosing packaging materials for cereal products should be related to the
major indices of failure of cereals, which include loss of crispness, lipid
oxidation, and nutrient loss.
Protection against environmental conditions like humidity, temperature,
The packaging material should be able to withstand mechanical hazards
during transportation and facilitate stacking several tiers high so as to
optimize the use of available space.
To protect the contents from spillage.
To protect the contents from insect infestation.
To protect from external odor.
Easy to handle.
Economical and easily available.
Most cereals are packaged with paper-based materials
made from wood fibers. Microflute corrugated paperboards
have unique characteristics including good strength
properties, excellent shock absorbing ability, good aesthetic
appearance, environmental advantages, and distinctive
print properties. White board is suitable for contact with
food and is often coated with low density polyethylene
(LDPE), poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC), or wax. It is used for
snack, chocolate, and frozen food cartons.
Different types of cereal based products are packed in
paper based materials. The major products include
weaning foods and breakfast cereals.
Flexible plastic films have been used for cereals in single packaging or
multi-serving size packages with other packaging materials. Biaxially
oriented films are most widely used, as it has qualities of toughness
(against puncture and abrasion) and clarity, and is rendered heat sealable
by coextrusion or coating with polyolefin copolymers. Films are also
coated with other polymers or aluminum to improve the barrier
properties or to impart heat sealability. Other films include:
LDPE/LLDPE films, High Molecular High Density Polyethylene films.
Laminates made from BOPP/LDPE, Cast Polypropylene (CPP)/LDPE,
Polyester/ LDPE are used in few branded commodities. Although
laminates are essential for expensive products like Basmati rice where
the flavor retention of the product is very important.
Major cereal products packed in plastic films are rice,
Metal containers have been rarely used for cereals and cereal products
due to their cost, despite their perfect gas barrier properties,
convenience, and extreme strength. Aluminium cans are most
commonly used. Many commodities are easily affected by sunlight,
which damages their appearance and worsens their taste. Aluminium
solves this problem in the best way possible which is why it is generally
regarded as the ideal core packaging material for food. Aluminium is
non-toxic, so it does not damage the foods packed in it, but instead
Most commonly packed cereal based product in aluminium cans are
Malted milk powder.
Cereals are sold mainly in bulk quantities. The requirements for bulk
packaging are therefore, most important for these commodities.
The packaging materials used for bulk packing of cereals are as
Woven sacks made out of high density polyethylene or
Multiwall paper Sacks
Traditionally, jute has been the packaging material used for bulk
packaging of food grains. With the increasing growth of these
commodities, there has been a quest to look at alternate packaging
materials due to the stagnant jute production. Plastic woven sacks
have the potential to fulfill this need in a cost-effective manner.
These are made either from HDPE or PP.
Cost: Jute sacks are 5-6 times heavier than the sack made out of
plastic material like HDPE or Polypropylene for a similar weight
The nature of jute packaging is such that, lot of food packed therein
gets exposed to deteriorating factors and germs. Air borne germs
and the ones present in the storage rooms may seek way through
the pores of the fabric and may contaminate the food. Such food,
when consumed may cause illness like food poisoning.
HDPE and PP woven sacks have replaced jute bags in number of applications.
Several plants manufacturing these sacks have come up in different parts of the
country making the availability of these products possible at low price.
Elongation at break of HDPE tapes is about 15-20% in comparison to jute bags,
which is about 30%. Owing to this property HDPE woven sacks have better
resistance to dropping.
HDPE and PP woven sacks of strength equivalent to that of jute bags can be
made using almost 70 times lower weight of the resin and hence are almost
60-65% cheaper than the jute bags.
Although HDPE/PP undergo degradation under UV light, it is possible to arrest
the same by using appropriate UV stabilizers.
It is possible to laminate HDPE woven sacks with LDPE. The laminated bags
protect the product packed in the bag from moisture and also prevent the loss
of products like flours due to spillage, which usually occur through plain jute
bags, which are commonly used for packing of flour.
HDPE and PP woven sacks are the most hygienic material for packing of
Weaning food are an essential diet of growing infants. Weaning food based on
cereals are highly sensitive to changes in moisture, resulting in caking when the
relative humidity exceeds 60%. At higher moisture the product turns bitter owing
to hydrolytic rancidity. They are mostly available in bag-in-box type packaging CR
paper board is used where LDPE is used as the sealant layer. The other films used
for liner bags are BOPP/Poly or Polyester. Some baby food are available in lined
CR Paper Board
Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) is a rugged thermoplastic
polymer. When polypropylene is biaxially oriented, BOPP, it becomes
crystal clear but remains available in white and matte finishes. BOPP is
also coated with layer of aluminium in range of 0.5 micrometers. Food
industry now often prefer BOPP over cellophane, polyester, polyvinyl
chloride and polyethylene because of it properties like moisture
barrier, heat sealable, high glossy and flavor barrier. Heat sealing
temperature range from 93⁰C (200⁰F) to 145⁰C (293⁰F) with high hot-
Coated recycled paperboard (CRB), a multiply
material, is produced from 100% recovered
paperboard just like uncoated paperboard.
However, it is typically coated with a thin layer of
kaolin clay over a top ply of white recovered fiber
to improve its printing surface.
Some CRB products may have a brown kraft back side, hence the term
“Coated Kraft Back” (CKB), or a white layer of fiber on the back side.
Coating contains kaolin clay, polyethylene resin for wet strength.
binders and additives (starch, latex). It is applied to one or both sides of
the paper either once, twice or three times and varies from 3–40 g/m2/
side of paper.Kaolin clay
Hot melt adhesives are used for sealing the closures of carton box. Hot melt
adhesives are thermoplastic polymer systems applied in a molten state.
They are available in the form of Pellets, Pillow Bags, Slats, Cakes, Bricks
drum, pail, and rail car. Melting temperature 248-350⁰F, viscosity 1000-
2000 cps, setting speed 1-2 seconds under compression and Opening
time 2-5 sec.
Different forms of hot melt adhesives
Case sealing line Source: www.adhesives.org
Modern weighing systems are very accurate giving consumers the guarantee
that all packs are at or extremely close to the declared weight. The product is
initially weighed into bags. The bag is required to preserve the integrity and
freshness of the product and acts as a barrier to moisture. This has the added
advantage of physically protecting the product from factory to kitchen shelf.
Bags are inserted into boxes at high speed. They are vibrated prior to
insertion to remove ballooning. Nevertheless, bag surfaces are not perfectly
flat, and there has to be a tolerance on the clearance between the bag and
the box to prevent jamming.
To protect the product, the bag forming and filling cycle is designed to ensure
the integrity of the bag. Heat sealers must be able to operate freely and
effectively and the cutting mechanism must be clear for the bag to drop
unhindered. To this end, product falls into the packaging tube well below the
jaws of the sealer and prior to sealing as much air as possible is squeezed
from the bag without damaging the product.
Opportunity to communicate and promote the product and brand.
Tamper proof designed greatly to reduce oxygen permeation.
Longer shelf life.
Consumer friendly- easy to carry, store and use.
Environmentally friendly- recyclable, lower carbon footprint than plastics.
Major disadvantage for this type of packaging is associated with re-closing the
package after the product has been dispensed or consumed therefrom.
Rice is the predominant staple food all around the world. Moulds are the
important microbes associated with cereals during growth, harvest, storage and
shipping. Good storage conditions and packaging are the key plugs to keep rice
fresh as spores only germinate if the moisture, temperature and oxygen levels
are optimum. Moulds cannot grow in rice grains below 14% moisture. Warm
conditions also encourages fungal growth. They are mostly available in plastic
bags. The other forms of packaging include plant fibre bags (jute, cotton, and
sisal) which are mainly used for bulk packaging.
Stand up pouch packaging is the modern version of flexible
packaging. The style of this packaging is mainly in a box form.
The pouch has a very flat bottom surface and when it is filled it
balances straight up, unaccompanied. The pouch also has left
and right side gussets. Material forms used during the
production process of these bags include; Plastic, PET, BOPP, PE
or Foil aluminum. All these materials contribute to the durability
and flexibility of stand up pouch bag packaging designs. The
thickness and capacity of packaging material depends upon type
of product. Normal thickness of packaging material for rice is
PET PE BOPP
Tear Notch: Consumers use the tear notch to rip open the top of the pouch.
Bags are made with narrow interlocking tracks, made from the same plastic
material, that are sealed into the poly bag near the open end across the
width. These are called zipper bags or reclosables.
Stand up pouches are typically made from 2 or more films laminated
together. Films can be laminated by using an adhesive or by heat and
pressure. One of the more common laminated structures is PET/Ink/LLDPE.
PET or Polyester is the outside layer. It provides
strength and has a high melting point.
Ink is the printing that occurs on the inside of the
PET layer and will get sandwiched with the next
layer of film.
LLDPE or Poly is the inside layer. It provides a
moisture barrier and has a low melting point. This
is the layer that melts together to form the seal.
The premade pouches are sent to packaging line where the machine uses
suction to select one bag at a time off of a conveyor on the U-shaped line. The
machine also uses suction to open the bag and then shoots a burst of air into
the pouch to open it and blow out any possible particles.
As the pouches moves to feeding section, rice is deposited into the top of the
open pouch, which is subsequently heat-sealed prior to exiting the machine.
Pouches index through a heat-sealing station, proceeding to the end of the
conveyor for downstream packing into shipping cases.
Shelf life of the product will be one-year.
Pouch Filling Sealing Secondary
Source: www.packworld.com, www.khs.com
Stand up bags do exactly what the name implies: They
stand up on the shelf.
Optimal product protection & long-lasting shelf-life through
Sturdy, durable and puncture resistant.
Protects the rice from oxygen, insects and moisture.
The easy-to-reclose feature makes consumers happy.
Ideal canvas for brand presentation with printing.
Customer friendly and easy to handle.
They are highly cost effective but not always the cheapest
option. The price depends on the thickness of the bag and
the number of layers you need and recyclable.
Premade pouches are
opened, filled, and heat-
The equipment can fill four
different sizes: 8-oz, 1-lb, 2-
lb, and 4-lb versions.
The replacement of the air in a container with a different gas or a
combination of gases is called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The
most commonly used gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2).
MAP and CA are often used for processing products such as cereals of all
kinds and cereal based products to protect against microorganisms.
The main gas used in CA of grains is usually CO2 although propane
combustion gases were also used effectively. Gas absorption by cereal
grains was reduced steadily with increasing temperature. Apart from
CA, MAP was another promising alternative in terms of following gas
composition: 2% O2 (or less), and MA of N2-CO2: 80/20, 70/30.
Combination of MA with active packaging or preservative(s) led to even
more promising results depending on the preservation temperature.
Francine Farine an UK based company changed the
packaging of wheat flour from normal packaging eco can
packaging. The body of the package is made from fully
coated recycled board, heat-sealed on top of white-lined
chipboard and bleached kraft inner liner. The reclosable lid
is made from Ensocoat (high-end graphical board) and the
bottom from polymer coated board.
Dole Foods is introducing an innovative
product called Take Away that
combines chopped salad mix with a
packet of whole grains and seeds, along
with a dressing or salsa to drizzle on
top. It includes a mixture of seeds, nuts,
roasted edamame, dried corn and
roasted soy nuts and different types of
grains. There are six varieties including
vegetarian and non vegetarian. Packed
in a leak proof, resalable container for
convenient consumption on the go.