Choose the correct primary packaging

Strengthening the product’s primary packaging can be achieved by considering the most efficient and protective size, shape and material options.

In the case of the food industry, increasing the shelf life of products makes them more susceptible to damage and puts more pressure on the primary packaging to protect them. This is why more and more food technologists want to create robust and reliable food packaging.

To protect the product, adding reinforced packaging in future shipments would reduce the chances of dents by softening the exterior of the product. However, this would not solve the cause: insufficient primary packaging.

From the factory to the food store

Primary packaging includes all packaging up to the point of sale, such as the prepared food tray, its plastic film and cardboard wrapper. Secondary packaging, on the other hand, describes the wrapping used to group individual units together during storage, transportation, and display. Finally, tertiary packaging is used for transportation purposes, such as stretch wrapping and tying.

Reinforced secondary packaging can protect the product during transport, but once the product is unpacked, stored and set aside, it is exposed to more potential damage in the supermarket aisle.

Today, food products spend more time on supermarket shelves thanks to extended service life created by modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

This process is usually carried out with food contained in aluminum trays with smooth sides and can extend the shelf life of the product by up to 200%.

While maximizing shelf life is beneficial for brands and consumers, it makes products more susceptible to damage, especially in a busy supermarket with countless shoppers checking ingredients. In order to fully protect the product, you must start with the primary packaging.

Correct packaging

By choosing robust primary containers, you can reduce potential product damage from transport to exit. However, you should opt for sturdy packaging that will last the entire life of the product, even outside the supermarket.

A drawer with smooth sides, for example, offers the convenience that consumers seek when purchasing fast-changing products such as frozen products. The packaging is designed so that the product can be carried from the freezer to the oven and to the table in the same tray. For all this, the packaging must be solid.

The use of lightweight packaging results in less reliance on secondary and tertiary packaging to protect the product in transit.

While secondary and tertiary packaging will continue to play a role in logistics, food brands that invest in primary packaging are reaping the benefits of fewer returns caused by shipping and in-store handling damage.

Author: Anthony Debes, sales manager at Advanta Nicholl Packaging

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