Beauty has an appetite for food grade packaging and here's why

By Julia Wray | 20-Mar-2023

Why have both food grade and pharma grade become such popular markers of quality for those in the cosmetics industry? Two packaging experts give their insight

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Because of its long history of safety, ‘food grade’ has become the reference for various industries, including personal care, for packaging.

Meanwhile, ‘pharma grade’ packaging, in the absence of a dedicated cosmetic grade, has become a go-to for ‘doctor’ style and dermatological brands. But what exactly do these entail?

To discover more, Cosmetics Business caught up with experts Professor Edward Kosior, founder and CEO of Nextek and NEXTLOOPP, and Benedicte Luisi, Director of Product Sustainability at Aptar Beauty.

NEXTLOOPP is a project run by Nextek to to create food grade PPristine and INRT-grade recycled polypropylene (rPP) from post-consumer packaging waste.

Aptar Beauty, meanwhile, creates high quality dispensing solutions for fragrance, cosmetics and skin care, and is part of the wider AptarGroup, which also covers food and beverage and pharmaceuticals.

What is food grade packaging & what are the benefits?

Edward Kosior, Nextek and NEXTLOOPP: Food grade packaging is defined as packaging that is safe to be in contact with food types that consumers may eat or drink.

This is very strictly regulated to ensure no harmful materials from the packaging migrate into the food to be consumed.

Benedicte Luisi, Aptar Beauty: Food safety agencies have robust procedures including a long list of steps to take to guarantee food grade status.

It starts with the identification of substances, a breakdown of the properties and purity standards for each substance, and the limitations on conditions of use.

Agencies such as the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration], Anvisa [the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency] or EFSA [the European Food Safety Authority] do not give out ‘food grade’ certifications.

Food grade compliance is an all-encompassing process that requires all packaging components to contain materials that are safe for human health.

The [Australia/New Zealand] Food Standards Code details specific requirements for surfaces in contact with foods, including containers and packaging in which food is processed or stored. They must be:

  • Adequate for the production of safe and suitable food;
  • Fit for their intended use.  

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