Sugar tends to be packaged in paper or thin cardboard, although it is also increasingly available in plastic packaging. Bottom-gussetted stand-up pouches with resealable zippers were introduced about five years ago, according to Packaging World. While this packaging is advantageous in several ways, it does add to the cost of sugar.
Packaging makes sugar more expensive. Any packaging, even simple packaging made of relatively cheap materials like paper or thin cardboard, has a cost associated with it, and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Furthermore, packaging adds weight to a product. Extra weight means extra transport costs for the manufacturer, which means extra costs for the retailer and consumer.
Sugar packaging, like the packaging of many other products, creates waste. This can be the case even when the packaging is recyclable, since some people choose not to recycle their used packaging. Waste processing is costly and potentially harmful to the environment. Furthermore, waste often means that materials that could be reused to make new packaging materials are lost.
Sugar is usually packaged in fragile bags that can easily be punctured by sharp objects or otherwise cut, torn or broken. From a retailer’s point of view, this means the product is spoiled and must be thrown away and wasted. If a bag of sugar you have bought gets broken, you may be able to rescue any sugar not spilled. However, it will probably be a fairly messy job.
Permeability refers to a material’s tendency to be pervaded by a liquid. Paper is a very permeable material, as is most cardboard. If a bag of sugar is exposed to a source of water, the water will permeate the bag and spoil the product. Bags of sugar can also absorb excessive moisture from the atmosphere, and this will tend to cause clumping or caking.
References and ResourcesPackaging World: Sugar packaging is in for a change
"Sugar, A User's Guide To Sucrose"; Neil L. Pennington, Charles W. Baker; 1990