Packaging as we know it today is the result of a long development process. Primitive human beings ususally consumed food when they found it. They were self-sufficient, so there was little need for packaging of food. The earliest vessels and containers were provided by nature itself in the form of animal skins, shells and gourds. Later, the invention of the potery wheel meant that the making of simple earthenware pots became more sophisticated.
Wooden barrels became popular in the Middle ages because they could be used for storing various types of food, including liquids such as beer or wine, and were much less fragile than glass or earthenware containers.
The demand for better packaging increased suddenly during the industrial revolution when trade flourished. Then, in the early 19th century a Frenchman named Nicholas Appert invented the can. It was made of glass rather than metal but it was a great leap forward in the history of packaging as it protected food from the effects of exposure to air. At the end of the 19th century, an American named Robert Gair invented the cardboard box. The flat-pack box could be folded out to make a square container that was light, cheap and easy to assemble.
The 20th century was the invention of a remarkable number of packaging devices: transparent cellophane made its first appearance between the world wars and heralded the start of the plastic age. Its invention was quickly followed by that of polythene. Aluminium foil, which came later, made it possible to effectively seal medications innovations led to the continued improvement of packaging, consequently, to increased choice of food, thus improving our everyday standard of living. In the 1940s, packaging was developed fo frozen food. In 1952 the aerosol came into the market. Aseptic cartons, invented in 1961, have been used for preserving long-life milk ever since.
During the past decade, serveral new or improved packaging technologies have emerged to satisfy the needs of the market, specifically those relating to active packaging, sustainable packaging, and intelligent packaging.