A food startup business is a great accomplishment, but it comes with unique challenges. Shipping, logistics, and packaging can be the barrier between you and success. Food subscription boxes, cooking kits, cookies, and snacks can impress customers, but only if they arrive fresh and intact. You need quality food packaging.
The proper food packaging will display the product, stand out on shelves, and slow spoilage. Be sure the packaging option you choose is compliant with state and local regulations.
FDA-Approved Food Packaging Options For Your Startup
The packaging suggestions listed below are FDA compliant and can assist with slowing food spoilage and preserving freshness. Most are rated for direct food contact. For more information on safe food preparation and packaging contact guidelines, visit the FDA guide for food packaging.
One of the most popular food packaging options is vacuum-seal packaging. A leading cause of food degradation during shipping is the presence of oxygen, which accelerates spoiling. Vacuum sealing makes shipping products safer by reducing oxygen within a package.
How It Works
Place food in a bag with barrier properties. A machine removes air from the bag, enclosing it neatly around the product. The package is sealed with a modified atmosphere. This means the atmosphere within the package is different than the natural atmosphere. Some machines insert gases into the package for extended shelf life without preservatives to create premium packaging conditions.
Vacuum Packaging Bags
Vacuum packaging bags must have oxygen barrier properties. Standard polyethylene or polypropylene bags will not hold a vacuum. Barrier bags feature multiple options to increase barrier properties. Our recent barrier bag post explains different properties and options available for barrier bags.
To find stock barrier bags, the most popular is a co-extruded bag. Meaning a bag made from more than one material. A poly-nylon woven bag is popular with vacuum sealing. For bags made from poly and nylon, oxygen transmittal rates are much lower than a standard FDA-approved polybag with no barrier properties. For increased barrier properties, bags with a foil lining or a foil side provide lower oxygen transmittal rates.
Vacuum Packaging Machinery
With the right bags and vacuum sealer, you can have an entire food packaging operation wherever you’ve set up your business. Determining the best sealer is essential and should be based on:
- The type of product being packaged – Will a full vacuum crush the products being packaged
- The size product being packaged – The bag and sealer must be larger than the products being packaged
- Projected Daily Output – A home-use sealer will not efficiently work for packaging hundreds of products daily
- Will gas flush be necessary – Each edible product is different and can thrive better in different atmospheres check and provide an optimal packaging atmosphere
Determining the proper sealer and bag can reduce future troubles and headaches. The worst outcome is to spend money on food packaging without it working correctly, causing customer complaints and quality issues. If you are unsure if vacuum packaging is needed for your business, call 1-800-441-5090 and speak with someone today.
Overwrapping is used by confectioners, butchers, grocers and many other food industry professionals. Ease of use, extending shelf life, and lightweight packaging are some of the many advantages to overwrapping.
How It Works
Think of meats and vegetables on trays at the grocery. That’s the result of overwrapping. A machine uses an electric heated wire to neatly cut film as you wrap it around the product. The bottom of the tray is placed on a heated fabric plate to shrink and mend the wrap around the bottom of the tray. The finished look is a tightly conformed packaging around the product(s) placed in the tray.
Overwrapping rolls come in a large selection of material thicknesses:
- 58 gauge Tinted plastic film for produce – reduce light exposure
- 57- to 100- gauge clear film for versatile food packaging needs based on product size
- 125-gauge film suited for long-term freezer storage and heavy cuts of meat
One 5,000-foot roll of lightweight film costs around $90, making overwrapping an affordable option for food startups and small businesses. Thousands of products can be wrapped with one roll. Each product can be wrapped and protected in under a minute.
Overwrapping machines come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit any startup budget and space:
- Tabletop machines are perfect for small convenience stores, deli’s, and butcher shops.
- A dual-axle model with temperature control offers two rolls sizes available. Excellent for locations with many different product sizes and shapes
- Compact standalone floor models are used in grocery stores everywhere.
- A specialized Made-in-America pizza wrapper is an overwrapping machine specifically for pizza packaging.
Overwrapping machines fit plastic rolls up to 20 inches in width. An overwrapping machine for short- to medium-term storage is effective, inexpensive, and perfect for companies wanting to protect food products until they reach the customer.
Shrink wrapping is perfect for bundling multiple products into one neat package. PVC shrink wrap is not used for direct food contact but can be used for packaging bottles caps and other food containers together. Polyolefin wrap can be used directly on food for a clean look and beautiful product clarity.
How It Works
After the product is placed inside of the shrink wrap material, applied heat shrinks the packaging film conforming to the product. Depending on the volume of your food packaging needs and the size of product, a number of machines can be used.
PVC Shrink Wrapping Film
In general, PVC shrink wrapping needs less heat than polyolefin wrapping, making it suitable for high-volume operations dealing with heat-sensitive products. Some common PVC options include:
- 75-gauge centerfold shrink wrap for boxed products
- 100-gauge shrink wrap for gift boxes, cooking sets, and other packages up to 30 pounds
- PVC banding and sleeves for tamper protection
The price range for shrink wrap varies depending on the gauge and type. Starting with a stock wrap before moving to custom sizes and printing will allow lower startup costs.
Polyolefin Shrink Wrapping Film
Polyolefin shrink wrap is FDA-approved for direct food contact. It is pliable and softer, suitable for baked goods, candies, pizzas, meats, cheeses, and more. Below are a few options for centerfold polyolefin shrink film.
- 45-gauge for lightweight food packages
- 60-gauge for easy customer unwrapping of pizzas, fresh produce baked goods, and more – Most popular for food items
- 75-gauge for heavier packages, most common for exterior box wrapping
- 100-gauge for products up to 35 pounds or longer-term freezer storage
There are also low-temperature shrink film options for speedy packaging of temperature-sensitive foods. It is an exceptional choice for any product with chocolate or ingredients with low melting points.
Shrink Wrapping Machinery
There’s a massive variety of shrink wrapping machines for every type of film and food startup size. To get a general idea of what the options are, check out our shrink wrap library, but some of the most popular shrink wrapping machines for startups are:
- Hand impulse sealers for low output and small, home-based operations
- Handheld shrink wrap guns before purchasing a shrink tunnel
- I-Bar sealers for wrapping less than 200 products daily are a great value for startups
- L-bar sealers for high volume food packaging
- Shrink tunnels once heat gun use becomes too slow and labor-intensive
To give startups affordable pricing on sometimes costly machines, we offer used shrink-wrappers and shrink wrap systems. These packages include heat guns, sealers, and film for as low as $250. Are you looking for more discounts on larger machines? Call 800-441-5090 ext. 1, for our sales team. They offer updated pricing and will sniff out any specials being run.
If you walk into a local convenience or grocery store, you’ll see a lot of polyethylene bags. As one of the most widely used and produced polymers, it’s a cost-effective food packaging option for startups.
How It Works
Poly bags only require something for bag closure. However, if you’re shipping food products, use a flat-wire impulse sealer to ensure a total sealed off enclosure.
Polyethylene Bag Options
For a startup company, poly bags are affordable and straightforward. Slide products into FDA approved bags and close the bag. Below are some options to consider.
- Clear stock bags available in multiple sizes
- Reclosable poly bags in stock sizes
- Poly bags w/gusset for cube-shaped or thick products
- Custom sizes, colors, and thicknesses for your product
- Printed poly bags for branded packaging
Stock poly bags cost pennies per bag and offer a professional look. Used with a branded label, packaging for thousands of products can be purchased for under $200.
While single cases or rolls of food packing products offer competitive prices, we offer discounts for buying products in quantities of five or more. Just contact us for discounted pricing quotes 24/7. We know that startups, especially in the food industry, need to minimize operating costs as much as possible in the beginning. With US Packaging and Wrapping, our bulk discounts help your bottom line without compromising quality.