Fortunately, silicone rubber mitigates the downsides of plastic. This elastomer keeps food fresh and safe, promoting food safety and reducing waste. This article explores silicone rubber’s properties that make it ideal for food storage and its applications.
What is Silicone Rubber?
Silicone rubber is a synthetic elastomer with silicon, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen constituent elements. The elastomer is made from the polymerization of liquid silicone rubber and molding it into desired shapes and sizes. Due to its constituent elements and molecular structure, silicone rubber has exceptional properties that make it widely used in manufacturing.
For instance, the elastomer has a high thermal resistance, is flexible, waterproof, and is resistant to harsh conditions and chemicals. Consequently, it is used to manufacture food storage products, electronic components, sports gear, and musical instruments.
Rubber Silicone Products can Maintain Food Quality and Safety
Silicone rubber has an inert nature. Hence it is used in the food industry. Although there are different types of silicone rubber, food-grade silicone is the one used to handle food. This type of silicone rubber is certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for food.
Food-grade silicone maintains its properties even at extreme temperatures, making it ideal for preserving food quality and safety. Furthermore, food-grade silicone is chemical-free, non-toxic, and odorless. However, because several rubber products are on the market, it is essential to look for certifications from relevant bodies before using the material to handle food.
5 Properties that Make Rubber Silicone Perfect for Storing Food
1. Non-Toxic and Food-Grade Safe
Silicone rubber is non-toxic and is, therefore, safe for storing food. In addition, the elastomer does not contain harmful chemicals that can leach into food. Hence, keeping food in a silicone rubber container ensures the food is not contaminated and is safe for consumption.
2. Durable and Long-Lasting
Another property of silicone rubber that makes it safe for handling food is its durability. The elastomer can withstand harsh weather conditions. Silicone rubber is resistant to ozone or oxygen. It is also resilient and chemically resistant. As a result, silicone food storage containers maintain their shape and form even after repeated use. They also withstand regular wear and tear, lasting as long as possible.
3. Versatile and Flexible
Silicone rubber is flexible and versatile. Because of its high elasticity, this elastomer can be stretched and bent without undergoing permanent deformation. In addition, the material can be easily molded into various shapes and sizes. Consequently, silicone rubber is used to make several food containers ranging from silicone bags to food boxes.
4.Easy-to-Clean and Maintain
Maintaining silicone rubber food storage products is easy. The material has non-stick properties, making cleaning easy and preventing dirt buildup. In addition, silicone rubber products are dishwasher safe and do not absorb water. Another property of silicone rubber that makes it easy to clean is that it does not absorb food stains and odors.
5. High-temperature Resistance
Silicone rubber material has a wide temperature range. The elastomer can withstand temperatures as low as -60 degrees C and as high as 230 degrees C. Consequently, silicone cookware can handle high-temperature applications like grilling and baking. Furthermore, the material is freezer-safe and can go from the freezer to the oven without damage.
Different Types of Silicone Rubber Food Storage Products
Silicone Food Bags
Silicone food bags are used to keep, store, and transport food. These reusable food storage bags can keep different food items ranging from fruits to vegetables. Silicone food bags are non-toxic, do not leach into food, and keep your food fresh. Moreover, they are more sustainable choices compared to single-use plastic bags.
Silicone Food Covers
Food covers provide an air-tight seal over a food container, preventing air and moisture from getting into the food. Silicone food covers help keep food fresh for a long time. They are available in several sizes and shapes to suit different containers.
Silicone food covers are reusable. They provide an eco-friendly option for keeping food fresh compared to plastic covers and aluminum foil. Furthermore, the food covers are easy to clean and maintain because silicone rubber is non-stick and hardly absorbs stains and odors.
Silicone Food Wraps
Food wraps are used to cover food items to preserve their freshness and flavor and protect the food from contaminants. Silicone food wraps are made from silicone rubber. This type of food wrap is reusable and flexible, providing an air-tight seal around food items.
Silicone Food Boxes
A food box packages and protects food from external factors. This food container prevents spillage and is convenient to carry around. Another advantage of silicone food boxes is that a brand logo and nutritional information can be printed on them for marketing purposes.
Furthermore, silicone food boxes are lightweight and eco-friendly. They are durable and a better alternative to disposable plastic containers. Also, due to their versatility, silicone food boxes can be used for meal prep and on-the-go eating.
Silicone Ice Cube Trays
Silicone ice cube trays are used for molding ice to be used in drinks and cocktails because silicone rubber can handle low temperatures. Furthermore, removing ice cubes from silicone trays is easy, unlike plastic ones. The material is flexible.
In addition, thanks to their flexibility, silicone ice cube trays are available in several sizes and shapes, creating non-conventional and attractive ice cube shapes.
Silicone Collapsible Bowls
Silicone collapsible bowls are great for storing food. A distinct advantage of this container is that it is collapsible when not in use. Therefore, it does not take up space. This food container is versatile and suitable for packing lunches and camping.
In addition, because silicone rubber is easy to clean, cleaning this container after use is easy. Afterward, the container can be packed and kept in a backpack or bag without taking up space.
Applications of Silicone Rubber Products to Store Food
Silicone rubber containers are great for storing food and other applications. They are convenient and can be used severally, making them a more sustainable option than plastic containers. Applications of silicone rubber products include:
Meal prepping helps to save time and money, especially for people with busy schedules. With silicone food containers, meal preps have never been easier. The containers are available in several sizes and are durable and non-toxic.
Also, because silicone rubber can handle extreme temperatures, the stored food can be kept in the fridge or freezer. They are also microwave-safe, allowing food to be reheated when necessary.
Microwave or Oven
Silicone food storage products are also microwaveable. The material is heat resistant and does not melt or decompose at high temperatures. Nevertheless, before putting this material in the microwave. It is essential to remove metal components. For instance, metal zippers on silicone food bags should not be microwaved.
Another application of silicone food products is in the oven. Silicone bakeware can be used for cakes and muffins. However, when using the oven. It is essential not to exceed the manufacturer’s recommended temperature range for the silicone food storage product.
Traveling or Camping
Silicone food storage products are also useful when traveling or camping. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and provide an air-tight seal that keeps food fresh. Popular silicone rubber products for camping and traveling include silicone food bags, straws, collapsible containers, and straws.
Silicone food storage containers are also used for packing lunches. The food containers do not spill, keeping food fresh for an extended period. In addition, the material is airtight and leak-proof, making it suitable for packing lunch items like salads, rice, and pasta.
Furthermore, because silicone rubber is lightweight, carrying lunches is easy. The material is also easy to clean and does not absorb the odor or stain of food.
Another application of silicone rubber food containers is for storing leftovers. Silicone food bags and containers come in several shapes and sizes to store leftovers. Because the material provides an airtight seal, it keeps oxygen out to preserve food and prevent waste. The bags can also be kept in the freezer or microwaved to reheat the food.
How to Clean and Care for Silicone Rubber Food Storage Products
Silicone rubber food storage products are non-stick and easy to clean. Tips for keeping these products in good condition include;
- Washing with mild soap and water. The material can be hand-washed or washed using a dishwasher. It is essential to rinse these products thoroughly to remove soap residue.
- Avoid using abrasive sponges to clean the products. These sponges can scratch the surface of silicone rubber, damaging the material.
- Avoid extreme temperatures. Although silicone rubber is heat resistant, using it in temperatures beyond what the manufacturer states can damage the product.
- Avoid using sharp objects like knives when using silicone food storage products. Knives and other sharp objects can puncture the surface of the product.
- Store silicone products in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight. It is best to dry the products and ensure there is no moisture before storing them
- When storing silicone products, avoid stacking heavy materials on them. Heavy materials on top of silicone products can cause deformation.
Rubber Silicone Vs. Plastic
Rubber silicone and plastic are lightweight materials used for packaging food. Nevertheless, there are significant differences between these materials. The table below compares the two materials;
Similarities between Silicone Rubber and Plastic
Although they differ, silicone rubber and plastic are similar in some ways. For instance, both materials are lightweight. Therefore, they are used to manufacture food storage containers that can be carried around. Furthermore, both materials are water resistant and can store wet and dry food items.
Another similarity between silicone rubber and plastic is that they are easy to clean. They are also available in several shapes and sizes to store food products.
Difference between Rubber Silicone and Plastic
Rubber silicone: BPA-free, recyclable and eco-friendly. The material can withstand high temperatures and can be cycled from the microwave to the freezer and back without any issues. Rubber silicone is also durable and flexible and can be molded into different container shapes. The material has a higher upfront cost than plastic, but it saves costs in the long run because it is reusable.
Plastic: the material contains toxic chemicals that may leach into food. Most plastic food containers are single-use and disposable, contributing to environmental waste. Furthermore, plastic is rigid and only suitable for short-term food storage. Although plastic is initially cheaper than silicone rubber, the cost of the material adds up over time because it is not durable.
Which is Better?
After considering the differences between rubber silicone and plastic products, it is safe to say that silicone rubber is more temperature resistant, flexible, and durable than plastic. Also, silicone rubber products are more eco-friendly and sustainable because they are reusable. In addition, this food storage material does not leach harmful chemicals.
The only pros of plastic are that it is lightweight and cheaper than plastic. However, this is only the upfront cost. Silicone is a more affordable option in the long run. Hongju rubber silicone products are BPA-free and eco-friendly. These FDA-grade materials have many benefits, making them suitable for food applications.
The Role of Silicone Rubber in Promoting Food Safety and Reducing Food Waste
Food safety is essential for reducing waste, protecting public health, and promoting economic growth. Regulatory bodies like the FDA certify food products and containers safe if they meet the standards. FDA-grade silicone rubber is one such product.
FDA-approved silicone rubber is non-toxic and temperature resistant. Consequently, it does not leach into food at high temperatures. In addition, the material is safe for handling food without causing health problems.
Another role of silicone rubber in promoting food safety is preventing food waste. Silicone rubber provides an air-tight seal that keeps out oxygen and external factors that may trigger food decay. Furthermore, rubber silicone products are durable and reusable, making them sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Silicone rubber has brought about a significant improvement in food storage. Its superior properties, such as flexibility, durability, and thermal resistance, ensure that food stays safe and fresh without leaching toxic substances. Silicone products for food storage are ideal for meal prep and traveling, aiding in reducing food waste.
In contrast, plastic containers might also be utilized for food storage, but they are less advantageous compared to silicone. Plastic is less durable and rigid, contains toxic chemicals, and is not eco-friendly. Silicone rubber, on the other hand, is a more secure and cost-effective choice.
Customize Your Rubber Silicone Products!
If you are considering rubber silicone food storage products, Hongju is the place for you. As an expert silicone rubber products manufacturer, we have over two decades of experience delivering only high-quality products that meet the expectations of our clientele.
You can take a step towards a sustainable environment by contacting us for FDA-approved products. We have capabilities for molding silicone rubber into several shapes according to your expectations. Our team will also work alongside yours to provide the perfect silicone food storage products for your business.