Packaging and Design

Quick Guide to Food Packaging

When it comes to food, packaging is way more than just a container – it’s a safeguard, a preserver, and a source of information. It ensures the freshness of our favourite treats, maintains the safety of our meals, and empowers us to make informed choices. That’s why it’s vital to understand the intricacies of food packaging, including its types, materials, design nuances, and the factors that ensure its sustainable.

Why does food packaging matter?

Food packaging ensures the quality and integrity of consumables across three key dimensions: safety, preservation, and information sharing. Safety is paramount in food packaging, acting as a barrier against external contaminants. This maintains consumer trust in the food supply chain. Additionally, food packaging extends the shelf life of perishable goods through techniques like vacuum sealing and modified atmosphere packaging, reducing food waste. That benefits both producers and consumers. And food packaging provides vital details such as nutritional content and allergen warnings. This empowers consumers to make informed choices.

General types of food packaging

Food packaging encompasses primary, secondary, and tertiary layers. Each one fulfills specific roles in safeguarding product quality and safety.

Primary packaging directly envelops the product, ensuring its physical protection and accessibility while preserving freshness and flavour. Picture the plastic wrap around sausages.


Secondary packaging supplements primary packaging, facilitating handling, transportation, and presentation, while also serving marketing and branding purposes. Picture the paper sleeve around those plastic-wrapped sausages.


Tertiary packaging ensures stability during transit and warehousing of large quantities of products, facilitating efficient movement across the supply chain. Picture a big box that holds packs of sausages.


Food packaging materials

Choosing packaging materials is critical for ensuring the safety, quality, and shelf-life of consumable products. Each material offers unique advantages and considerations:

Plastic packaging provides versatility but poses environmental concerns, driving the demand for eco-friendly alternatives like biodegradable plastics and plant-based polymers.

Glass packaging preserves taste and quality effectively while being 100% recyclable, though its fragility and weight can be limiting factors.

Metal packaging offers durability and protection but may be heavier and impact transportation costs.

Paper-based packaging from sustainable sources offers customization opportunities and advancements in water-resistant coatings, balancing biodegradability with environmental impact.

What to consider when you are designing food packaging?

Effective food packaging design harmonizes form and function. It focuses on functional, aesthetic, and branding elements to enhance consumer experience and brand perception. Here are some great questions to ask.

Is my design functional?

Does it provide ease of use and protection of contents, striking a balance with aesthetic appeal to enhance consumer experience?

Are the aesthetics of my design intentional?

Does it capture consumer attention and communicate product quality and desirability, fostering brand loyalty and differentiation in the market?

Is my brand identity coming through clearly?

Does the branding and marketing on the packaging represent my brand’s identity, fostering trust and loyalty among consumers while conveying values and positioning in the marketplace?

Sustainable food packaging

We write a lot about sustainability in packaging, and for good reason! This matters to your customers, and it will only matter more in the years ahead. What is sustainable food packaging? It:

  • incorporates eco-friendly materials;
  • is the result of efficient production methods;
  • builds consumer awareness to minimize environmental impact and promote responsible consumption.

Eco-friendly materials like biodegradable, compostable, post-consumer recycled content and recyclable options minimize environmental harm. And transparent labelling empowers consumers to make informed choices.

Want to talk about your food packaging choices—especially sustainable ones? Reach out and let’s put our heads together.



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