At Indepak, our goal is always to find the best packaging solution for every client. After more than 50 years in the packaging industry, we have the experience needed to identify the ideal packaging type for any product and while clamshell packaging is an excellent fit for many items, we have a few other options, as well.
Plastic clamshell packaging, as the name suggests, includes two pieces of plastic that connect at one edge which forms a hinge. Clamshell packaging can be sealed completely (RF welding, heat sealing, etc.), or it can close with built-in button snaps. Sometimes tape, a small staple or a plastic security band is placed around the seal to protect the product inside.
In general, clamshell packaging is a good fit for products that need a high level of protection and visibility, including:
Clamshells are an ideal packaging option for many fresh foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, deli items, bakery items and more. As food packaging, a clamshell is advantageous because consumers easily can see the food product and easily store any leftover food in their clamshell container.
As an alternative, many of these food products also can be packaged in plastic trays with lids. For instance, pre-washed lettuce often is packaged in a single-cavity tray with a lid, but fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, deli items and other fresh foods also can be placed in a tray with a secure lid. Items meant to be taken to parties and gatherings, also are better suited to a black plastic tray with a clear plastic lid as they can be beautifully presented at a buffet table.
At Indepak, we can provide you with clamshell packaging or custom trays with lids for your specialty food items. We also can provide you with trays for microwavable meals, fresh meats and other items that will be sealed with film rather than a lid. We can work with your lidding supplier to ensure material compatibility, which is crucial for food packaging, especially with any type of modified atmosphere packaging.
With expensive items and items prone to theft or tampering, clamshell packaging is often the best option to consider for retail packaging. When sealed, clamshell packs are difficult to open or even damage, which makes this packaging choice ideal if you wish to have a product nicely displayed, yet well protected as it sits on a store shelf.
Items such as toys, electronics, tools, medical products and even some personal care items are well-suited to clamshell packaging. Electronics and makeup items are among those most frequently stolen from stores, and clamshells can provide the protection you need for these expensive products.
Clamshells and tri-fold packaging also can be the best option for heavier products that are meant to hang from a peg on a store shelf. Lighter weight packaging, such as blister packaging might not be as good of an option for heavier products.
Clamshell packaging not only protects your products from tampering and theft, but also can lock out moisture. For some products, particularly prone to moisture damage, we do recommend adding a desiccant pack in your custom clamshell packaging.
What About Blister Packaging?
Technically, a plastic clamshell is a type of blister packaging, but it tends to be the most expensive option. So, for lightweight and inexpensive items, plastic clamshell packaging might not be your best option. For these products, we usually recommend some type of blister pack, such as a trap blister or face seal blister.
At Indepak, we can provide you with any type of blister you might need, including a basic face seal blister, which is simply a custom plastic cavity that covers and protects your product and will be glued to a piece of custom paperboard. This basic type of packaging is inexpensive and ideally suited to those lightweight and less expensive items such as pens, lighters, glue sticks and lip balms.
If you need more security the plastic can be extended to the edge of the paperboard or even wrap around the edge. A trap blister is another option to consider for items that might need more protection from tampering. For this type of blister packaging, we design a plastic cavity, and this is “trapped” between two pieces of paperboard and tightly sealed.
For many products, using plastic materials is simply the best option and there are several reasons why including:
- Cost-Containment – Plastics are more affordable than other packaging materials.
- Weight – Plastics are lighter than other materials, which lowers transportation costs.
- Protection – Plastics are impact-resistant and can handle the rigors of transport.
- Moisture-Resistance – Plastics can protect your products from moisture & mold damage.
- Appearance – Clear plastic packaging allows consumers to see your product.
In addition to these reasons, plastic materials also have many properties that make them ideal for certain types of products. For instance, if you need electronics packaging, we work with materials that range from dissipative to conductive and we can find solutions to ensure that your static-sensitive products are well protected.
For medical packaging, we can design clamshells and custom trays meant for non-sterile and downstream sterilization applications and we provide detailed recordkeeping down to the box level. With specialty foods, we work with a variety of materials approved as safe for food contact and we’ve earned FSSC 22000 certification from the Global Food Safety Initiative.
As far as sustainability, virtually all of the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable. For some projects, we can use plastics with recycled content or perhaps even use starch-based biomaterials. Blister packaging also can be a good choice, as this requires less use of plastic but, realistically, some products are simply better suited and better protected with clamshells.
Whether you need custom clamshell packaging, custom plastic trays or custom blister packaging, the team at Indepak can help find a packaging solution that meets your needs and budget. To get started with a packaging project, you can click on the Contact tab above and fill out our quick contact form or just give us a call at (800) 338-1857.