4 Reasons Why Clamshell Packaging is Ideal for Fresh Food Products


Clamshell packaging has become a clear frontrunner among fresh food retailers – and it’s easy to see why. 

Clamshell packaging has become a clear frontrunner among fresh food retailers — and it’s easy to see why. There’s a lot that hinges on your packaging decisions, but we’ll clam up now and put the kibosh on the irresistible puns. Let’s dive into some serious reasons to consider the clamshell for your fresh food products.

The demand for fresh food packaging has been on the rise and is expected to increase. Whether it’s fresh fruits and veggies or ready-made salads and sandwiches, people love the convenience and ease of being able to grab the perfect amount of fresh food easily. Add in the benefit of pre-cut and washed produce, and the allure becomes even greater.

To meet the increasing demand, produce packagers and retailers have been looking for the perfect containers to showcase their fresh food. Enter the clamshell. Clamshell packaging is typically defined as a hinged, rigid plastic container that’s thermoformed into various shapes. 

Some expand this definition to include two-piece plastic trays and film-covered trays. Many of these containers are clear, at least on the top, allowing shoppers to see the contents easily.

While some of the reasons for the popularity of clamshell packaging may seem obvious, there are some other benefits you may not have considered. If you’re on the fence about using clamshell packaging for your fresh food, here are our top four reasons to take the leap.

1. Consumers appreciate being able to see food before buying it.

What shopper isn’t enticed by the colorful vibrancy of healthy fresh food? Not only does a transparent clamshell package draw them in, but consumers are able to see all the way around the container and feel confident in the quality of their purchase. Most clamshell packages include anti-fogging treatment for clear viewing and a sturdy, leak-resistant closure system that allows people to easily open, close, and reopen the container when storing at home.

2. Clamshell packaging protects fresh food while showcasing the contents.

As a superior choice to plastic bags, clamshells help keep delicate fresh food from bruising or being otherwise damaged during shipping and transport to consumers’ homes. In addition to being excellent for storing produce, clamshells are the perfect choice to protect bakery items that might otherwise be squished, and they keep potentially messy items like fruit-topped danishes neat and tidy.

3. Clamshell containers are cost-effective, recyclable, and help reduce fresh food waste.

Clamshell packaging is coming down in price due to recycling efforts. This is good news for your bottom line. As a bonus, customers appreciate efforts at offering green packaging. 

Additionally, the popularity of clamshells for fresh food has spurred advancement in new technologies that have further reduced production costs, bring the price of the containers down.

Also, using clamshell packaging is not only green from a recycling perspective but also helps the environment by cutting down on food waste. 

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While most people might assume that fresh food packaging would be the bigger problem, data shows that food waste is responsible for 89% of CO2 emission rates. By getting the fresh food on the journey from the farm, through processing, to the store, then to the table in a way that best protects and preserves the food, clamshell packaging is making a significant contribution to reducing damage and spoilage.

4. Clamshell packaging can be sealed for safety with a tamper-evident label.

Another huge benefit offered by the clamshell is that its visibility reassures customers that the food inside has not been tampered with or modified post-packaging. As a further measure of precaution, clamshells are often manufactured with safety tabs, shrink wrap, or c-wrap labeling as a tamper-evident seal. Safety first!

Clamshell Packaging Labeling Machines

Once you’ve decided that clamshells are indeed the way to go for your fresh food product, you’ll want to look for a labeling machine that can keep the fresh food moving through the line quickly and efficiently.

It might be tempting to use a handheld or manual labeler at first, but there are a few signs to watch for that might indicate that it’s time for an upgrade:

  • Product is building up
  • Greater consistency is desired
  • Labor costs are adding up
  • A growth wall has been hit
  • Batch/lot codes are needed

Choosing the best clamshell packaging labeler for your fresh food is a matter of balancing your need for speed and productivity with your desired level of investment and quality. You’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Machine Quality: Stay up-to-date with technology advances and purchase from a reputable source.
  • Container Quality: Avoid the temptation to cut costs with cheap containers that may cause headaches.
  • Label Quality: Choose labels that look great when printed on and uses reliable adhesives.
  • Growth Potential: Think beyond what you need today to allow room for future growth. Look for a modular system that offers add-ons for increased capabilities.
  • Date Printing: Consolidate tasks with a machine that includes fresh food dating.
  • Application Consistency: Rely on modern laser-guided and computerized systems for accuracy, and get rid of wrinkles and bubbles with an advanced label smoothing system.

Labeling-Equipment_PL-211D_FRTwo great options to consider include the PL-211D and PL-221D from Pack leader USA. The PL-211D offers a straightforward design for clamshell packaging that’s simple to use and easy to maintain. It meets the qualities listed above that you want to look for in a fresh food labeler, as well as meeting all Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliant standards and strict ISO 9001 quality control procedures.

Labeling-Equipment_PL-221D_FRThe PL-221D is an excellent choice to handle a variety of fresh food labeling needs. It’s distinctive, dual-head design effortlessly tackles top and bottom clamshell packaging jobs in a single pass. This is a smart, robust piece of equipment that’s easy to use and maintain. The PL-221D offers impressive efficiency, increased productivity, and durable practicality while meeting all compliance and quality standards.

Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free consultation, or start by getting better acquainted with our most popular machines with this handy comparison chart.

Compare Clamshell Labeling Machines for Fresh Food