There are a lot of small details that producers can overlook when searching for packaging options, things that may not be intuitive even after years in your industry. For national producers with no room for error from their packaging provider, choosing the right packaging for their application can be even more complex.
Whether you need a few hundred thousand units a year or tens of millions, without a qualified vendor, it’s a jungle out there. You need to find a company that can handle your custom needs, and delivers packaging you can trust. But first, you need to know what you are looking for.
The experts at EasyPak have put together a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right packaging. They’ve also created a quick and easy tool that makes choosing packaging simple.
Let’s get started, covering the basics, then show you how to use the Product Search Helper.
1. What Should I Know When Choosing Packaging
The first thing you need to know to choose packaging fit for your needs is what you will do with it. That may sound a bit simplistic, but we’ll help guide you through some of the deeper questions you should be asking to ensure the best possible results.
It’s essential to consider not just the endpoint of the product, but every step in the preparation, packaging, transportation, display, and end-use of that product. These considerations, in simplest terms, include Environmental Conditions, Visual and Capacity Expectations, and Sustainability. By clarifying these steps early on, you home in on the perfect packaging options for your goals.
For example, in the food processing and packaging industry, chocolate pudding cups with film-sealed lids are stored in shelf-stable conditions. However, the packaging must also withstand the boiling hot product during packaging. It may also need to be stored under refrigeration, making some plastics brittle.
The same applies to any product, though particularly in the CoPacker, distribution, and retail spaces, environmental conditions through the entire lifecycle of your product determine resin type. There are many considerations. Does the container also go through a blast chiller? Is it shipped in climate-controlled containers? Is it prepared in the microwave, the oven, or by coming to room temperature by the end-user?
Your first concern is resin type, the material used to create the container. Once you have narrowed down resin types to what can handle your environmental conditions, the next question is “What do I want my packaging to look like?”
Visual and Capacity Expectations: Colors, Shapes, and Sizes
The visual expectations for all products vary, and your individual needs, style, and branding are the key to choosing packaging for your product. There are many questions to ask yourself, like, should the packaging obscure the contents, such as in some medical packaging that utilizes an opaque single-use instrument tray of PETG in medical blue. Or will this packaging be for devices sterilized with radiation and sealed with Tyvek?
Another such question is, will the packaging display the contents, such as a recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) clear deli sandwich wedge, which must be crystal clear to show the quality of the contents to consumers? The right material choice can even amplify the colors of the product inside to entice purchasers to buy.
Many kinds of visual expectations may be held, such as colors, labeling options, capacity, opacity, and shape. Display is often the primary focus for containers, meaning high clarity is essential. Clear is not always an option, depending on resin type. So, once you have narrowed your resin types down by environmental conditions, eliminate resins that will not serve your visual expectations.
For example, if you need freezer-grade plastic that also acts as a clear display, you’d need a modified resin that is both freezer-grade and has added clarifiers. Understanding the conditions helps you choose the correct material for low temp options in your packaging.
Features, shape, size, capacity
Once you narrow down your plastic material options to those compatible with your visual expectations and environmental conditions, features like tamper evident and film seal, along with shape and size or capacity, are considered.
After these steps, your final decision may be your most important: the sustainability options available for your chosen material.
Since the turn of the century, plastic recycling has more than doubled, from 1.48 million tons to 3.09 million tons, according to the EPA. This trend has been steadily growing over the last 20 years, as well as the percentage of consumers who find recycled packaging an important purchasing consideration.
According to Business Wire, 60 percent of global consumers state recycled packaging is important, with Americans coming in slightly over the global average at 61 percent. That means a recycled container such as rPET could make the difference between two like offerings on a store shelf.
Finding a supplier for your containers can be complex, but you want to look for a company that is vertically integrated for recycled materials as they are highly confident of their sustainable practices and environmental impact and are in control of quality.
Companies like EasyPak, which utilize post-consumer recycled content (PCR), closed-loop, and PET recycling, are able to take a bale of raw materials and their own scrap and produce high-quality, recycled raw materials for packaging.
Once you have determined your sustainability needs, you then know which container to choose to best suit your needs. There is, however, a much simpler way to find the exact product you are looking for while taking all of the above into account and allowing you the flexibility to test different options at your fingertips—the EasyPak Product Search Helper.
3. Simplify: The EasyPak Product Search Helper
At EasyPak, we know that time is of the essence, and you may or may not have the plastics expertise to know precisely which material is best to package your product. To make it as easy as possible to choose the best packaging, we are proud to introduce our new Product Search Helper.
Take the guesswork and time out of product choice, for off-the-shelf solutions by discovering your perfect product option on the EasyPak website. Or explore your options and then reach out to our expert team for custom production. All you have to do is answer five simple questions to narrow down your options.
The Product Search Helper will allow you to find your options quickly, and intuitively, by starting at type (such as clamshell, lid and base, trays, tubs, or domes), then shape, size, features, and sustainability. From there, reaching out to a representative or requesting a sample is a cinch.
Big Enough to Meet Your Needs, Agile Enough to Customize
EasyPak services many industries, including bakery, tender leaf, deli, and confectionary as well as working closely with copackers and distributors to satisfy the complex needs of a diverse customer base. Choosing the right package can be difficult at times, but we’ve simplified the process to make it easier for our customers to find the right container quickly.
Get the confidence you need, the perfect packaging, and a production partner that has the capabilities to produce for your organization at scale yet is agile enough to deliver custom packaging to suit your needs.
Have questions or want to work with an expert? Schedule a free consultation with our product team today to discuss your options and ideas.