Food grade polypropylene: characteristics, advantages and applications

Find out everything you need to know about food grade polypropylene

Friday 19 January 2024

Polypropylene is a plastic material widely used in the food industry for the production of containers, packaging, tools and plastic equipment intended for direct contact with food. Thanks to its unique characteristics, polypropylene offers numerous advantages and can be used for various applications. This thermoplastic polymer is distinguished by its remarkable mechanical strength, durability and resistance to thermal variations, and is therefore ideal for containing and storing food both hot and cold. In addition, polypropylene allows you to comply with strict food safety standards because it is non-toxic and does not react with food, thus ensuring maximum hygiene and integrity of products.

Let’s see more specifically what are the main characteristics and properties of polypropylene and all the advantages and different possibilities of application in the food industry.

What is polypropylene?

Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer belonging to the polyolefin family. This material is characterized by its extraordinary versatility, strength and lightness, which make it an ideal choice not only for the food industry, but for a variety of industrial and daily applications. Its structure gives it excellent mechanical properties, such as a remarkable resistance to impact, bending and deformation. It is also resistant to many chemical and acid solvents, making it ideal for use in harsh environments.

Another significant aspect of polypropylene is its thermal resistance, which allows it to be used in applications that require exposure to high temperatures. In addition to these physical and chemical properties, it is also known for its environmental sustainability: it is one of the most easily recyclable plastics, therefore preferable to other materials to allow a reduction in ecological impact.

Characteristics and advantages of food grade polypropylene

Food grade polypropylene has several features and advantages that make it particularly suitable for use within industries, laboratories and activities of the food industry. Among the distinctive features of polypropylene we find:

  • chemical and thermal resistance, as it is able to withstand high temperatures without deforming or releasing harmful substances. Its resistance makes it ideal for use in applications involving contact with hot food or requiring sterilization processes;
  • waterproof: food grade polypropylene is impermeable to water and other liquids, ensuring optimal food storage. Moreover, it does not react with food, avoiding contamination and preserving its taste and quality;
  • lightness and flexibility: polypropylene is a lightweight and flexible material, which makes it easy to handle and carry. It is also resistant to impact and breakage, thus ensuring a long life of products made with this material;
  • versatility of application: thanks to its adaptability, polypropylene can be shaped into various shapes and sizes. It is therefore ideal for a wide range of applications, from flexible packaging films to food containers;
  • safety and regulatory compliance: food polypropylene is considered safe for contact with food and complies with international regulations and regulations. It is non-toxic and does not release harmful substances into food, ensuring the safety and hygiene of products;
  • affordable cost and durability: polypropylene is an economical material compared to other options available in the market. It is also extremely durable and durable, ensuring a long life of products made from this material. This results in excellent value for money for the food industry.

Is polypropylene food safe?

As we have seen, food grade polypropylene is considered one of the safest materials for the manufacture of products intended for contact with food, thanks to a number of intrinsic characteristics that guarantee the hygiene and protection of food products. First of all, polypropylene does not contain harmful plasticisers or bisphenol A (BPA), substances that can be harmful if released into food. This aspect makes it particularly suitable for the production of containers, packaging, plastic equipment for food - such as those proposed by IFT - and, in general, for all those applications where safety is a priority to ensure product quality and consumer health.


Another strong point of polypropylene is its chemical inertia. This material does not react with food or with most chemical compounds, thus avoiding any kind of cross contamination that could alter the quality or safety of stored food. In addition, the molecular structure of polypropylene prevents the growth of bacteria and mold, further contributing to food hygiene.

Polypropylene is also easy to clean and sanitize, an essential feature for all materials used in the food industry. Its non-porous surface prevents the accumulation of food residues and microbes, making it easy to remove dirt and bacteria through normal cleaning processes.

Finally, the possibility of recycling polypropylene contributes to its safety with a view to greater sustainability and environmental responsibility. Recycling reduces the risk of waste accumulation and pollution, ensuring a lower impact on the environment and promoting a more sustainable and safe food chain.

The different applications of polypropylene in the food industry

Polypropylene can be used in a wide range of applications, in particular for the production of containers, packaging and plastic equipment for the storage and handling of products destined for different food sectors. Its ability to adapt to multiple needs, from storage to handling, from preparation to presentation of products, makes it an indispensable ally to ensure efficiency and safety at every stage of the food chain.

Among the most common uses of polypropylene is surely the creation of stackable food crates used for the transport and storage of food products such as fruits, vegetables and meat. These boxes are distinguished by their robustness and durability and can be easily stacked, speeding up production processes and optimizing space in warehouses and during transport. 

Polypropylene is also used for the production of stackable grids, used in particular in the dairy sector for the fermentation and storage of cheeses and for the containment of meat and sausages during salting, cooling or freezing operations. IFT’s stackable grids, in particular, are distinguished by their ability to maintain a safe and hygienic environment, resisting the formation of mold and facilitating the different processing processes.

In the food industry, polypropylene can be also used for the production of grids, plastic boards and holed boards for different applications, such as bakery, pastry and dairy, in particular for the maturing of cheeses. These tools are essential to ensure a hygienic surface and allow adequate transpiration of products, avoiding the formation of unwanted mold during salting, drying and seasoning. 

In addition, polypropylene is used for the production of smooth boards and drying racks designed to facilitate the performance of different processes in the food industry, such as the processing of pasta, fruit or vegetables. These components, essential for the storage and handling of products, exploit the lightness and resistance of the material, while ensuring maximum safety and hygiene.

All plastic food equipment proposed by IFT is made of food grade polypropylene (PP) in full compliance with EC directives and the national ministerial decree for materials intended to come into contact with food. The products are manufactured following high quality standards and controlling every stage of the production process to ensure maximum safety and hygiene in contact with food. In addition, IFT’s plastic equipment is robust and highly impact resistant, ensuring perfect functionality even for frequent or intensive use, and can be easily washed and sanitized after use.

 For more information on our plastic equipment for the food industry, contact us! Our staff is always available to advise you on the most suitable products for every need and specific production.