In previous posts, we’ve talked about why you should use a contract packager, and how to choose a contract packager. Now it’s time to talk about the different packaging services a contract packager can provide.
Contract packaging involves packaging products into two main categories – Primary and Secondary packaging.
- Primary packaging consists of the first layer of containment that comes in direct contact with the product.
- Secondary packaging is any packaging material that secures or otherwise protects the product in its primary packaging.
Primary Packaging Types
There are several different forms of primary packaging:
Blister Packaging is a term for several types of pre-formed plastic packaging used for small consumer goods, foods and pharmaceuticals. A blister pack mainly consists of a thermoformed plastic cavity with a paperboard or aluminum backing.
Clamshell Packaging is similar to a blister pack in that it is made of a shaped plastic material. Clamshells, however, consist of two (usually) plastic halves connected by a hinged area. It gets its name from its resemblance and function to the shell of a clam.
Skin Packaging, like blister packaging, involves the product being backed by a paperboard backing. A thin sheet of transparent plastic is placed over the product where heat adheres and forms it to the product and paperboard backing.
Poly Bagging is a simple form of primary packaging in which the product is deposited into a polythene bag and heat sealed to protect from dust and damage during transit and storage.
Fin Seal packaging, also called flow-wrapping, is a high-speed method for loosely containing a product in a sealed film. Sealed at both ends with a third seal (the fin seal) along the back of the packaging, this method is used for processing large orders of product. This method is typically used for snack foods, collectible trading cards, and printed items like magazines. This method is also used to create stick packs of powdered products such as drink flavoring.
Cello Wrapping encompasses the product in a brittle and crinkly polypropylene film. The folds of the film are sealed together with heat application, giving the product a clean and glossy look. This is typically done with products like chewing gum and playing cards.
Filling encompasses a broad range of packaging services. Liquid and solid filling of bottles and jars, cans, poly bags, pouches, and tubes are an integral part of the supply chain. This involves a product being fed from a hopper into an assortment of primary packaging types.
SECONDARY PACKAGING TYPES
Most products, once contained in a primary package, are then covered in some form of secondary packaging for protection during transit.
Shrink Wrapping is one of the most common forms of secondary protective packaging. This is a polymer plastic film that over wraps the product before being heat treated and shrunk to fit the primary package. The film can be clear or pre-printed shrink (PPS) for in-store display. Typically, this method is used to combine multiple units of a product for storage efficiency. This is also a popular method for displaying multi-packs or variety packs of product in club stores.
Shrink Sleeving is becoming a popular way to increase a product or group of products’ shelf visibility on the store shelves. This involves a product or group of products being placed through a pre-printed sleeve of PET film before running through a heat tunnel where the plastic is heated and conformed to the shape of the contained product.
Floor and Counter Displays including end-aisle displays are secondary packaging pieces used as a part of a marketing strategy for in-store display. These displays are made of pre-printed corrugate and built into a variety of structures for housing the product in a visually appealing fashion.
Cartoning is a method for packaging product into a paperboard container. Typically a product is run on a conveyor and placed into a pre-printed paperboard construct that is open on both ends with flaps. The flaps are glued and folded to seal the product inside. This is a popular secondary packaging for canned product.
Kitting is a hands-on service that takes multiple different, but related SKU’s and places them into a single package – usually for promotional items or club box items.
The list above is a selection of services that Keller Packaging can provide. Check out the different primary and secondary packaging services Keller provides at our website or,