Styrofoam vs. Plasic
June 6, 2008 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Why do meat companies/supermarkets always packaged meat in those Styrofoam trays?

In all the supermarkets in my area (Massachusetts) it seems that all the meat for sale is packaged in those pink and white Styrofoam trays and then wrapped in plastic wrap. Is there any reason why its always Styrofoam and not plastic? Is it cheaper then plastic or better for the meat?
posted by lilkeith07 to Food & Drink (5 answers total)
It is plastic. Styrofoam is a brand name for expanded polystyrene. Polystyrene is the most common type of plastic. To make styrofoam they fluff it up somehow (don't ask me how, I was a theatre major :-). I'd guess that they use styrofoam because it takes the least amount of material to make a stiff tray.
posted by winston at 7:17 PM on June 6, 2008

Insulation. Styrofoam, which incorporates air, keeps the meat removed from the cooling/freezing source.
posted by megatherium at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2008

Best answer: The trays cost nearly nothing. They weigh almost nothing. They're strong and stiff. Once meat has been plopped down in one of the trays, it's easy to wrap. And since the resulting trays of a particular kind of meat are all the same size, it's easy to put them in the refrigerator case, and they stack up neatly and look good.

And when the meat has been sold, it's insulation on one side, which means the meat doesn't warm up as fast on the trip home.
posted by Class Goat at 9:23 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

FWIW, if you go to an actual butcher shop, they cut the meat as requested, wrap it in butcher paper and tape it shut.
posted by tomwheeler at 9:57 PM on June 6, 2008

The tray gives the blood somewhere to collect.
posted by gyusan at 6:48 AM on June 7, 2008

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