How to Choose the Right Packaging for Your Products

When it comes time to choose packaging for your product, you have a lot of options available to you. Knowing the basics of the various packaging types will help you make an informed and correct decision the first time. Your product has a unique shape, size, and weight, which means you need packaging tailored to it specifically.

For retail products, the top choices are usually trap blister, custom plastic clamshell, stock clamshell, or skin packaging. Let’s review the benefits of each.

In this blog post we’ll cover:

  • Recognizing the differences between trap blister packaging, custom clamshell packaging, stock packaging and skin packaging
  • How to analyze the pros and cons of each type of packaging
  • The costs of each form of packaging
  • Determining the ideal option for your products
What’s the difference between trap blister, custom clamshell, and skin packaging?

Trap blister packaging begins with a piece of plastic, usually PET (polyethylene terephthalate), HIPS (polystyrene), or any number of other types. Through a process called thermoforming, heat is used to shape the plastic into a mold. With trap blister packaging, the thermoformed plastic molds into a pocket or container shape. Afterwards, a cardboard backer is attached to the pocket. Your product will be contained in the pocket and held in by the backer.

Clamshell packaging involves two pieces of thermoformed plastic. The name “clamshell” comes from the fact that this type of packaging often has a hinge and resembles a clamshell. However, not all clamshell packages have hinges. DCP offers both stock and custom clamshell options. Stock clamshell packages are simple to design and more cost effective than custom clamshell packages. Custom plastic clamshell packaging makes your product more visible while also providing superior protection.

With skin packaging your product is placed on a flat piece of cardboard or other corrugated material. Hot, pliable plastic is then placed around your product and conforms to its shape. This type of packaging fits around products like a thin layer of skin, giving it its name.

Pros and cons of each packaging type

There are several advantages and drawbacks when it comes to trap blister, clamshell, and skin packaging. Trap blister packaging is typically the most cost effective and versatile, with applications across a range of different industries. A disadvantage, however, is that the back of trap blister packaging is easy to break through and weak in terms of theft prevention.

Clamshell packaging, on the other hand, uses two pieces of strong thermoformed plastic, giving it superior security over trap blister and skin packaging options. This additional layer of security means less tampering and fewer instances of theft and product loss. Their drawback is that clamshell packages can be difficult for customers to open.  

Skin packaging is a great choice for food products. You’ll often see it in grocery stores and supermarkets to protect and preserve meat, fish, and poultry. Plus, skin packaging helps with waste and plastic reduction. Unfortunately, the thin layer of plastic used in skin packaging does not do much to prevent tampering and theft.

What’s the cost

The main goal of plastic packaging is to protect your product and allow the customer to view it. Skin packaging, while a good option for perishable food goods and inexpensive to produce, is not suitable for other types of consumables that require more protection, like pharmaceuticals and medications. Trap blister packaging costs more, and your product receives more protection than skin packaging, but you may still incur costs for damage, theft, and tampering due to its weak back. To keep costs as low as possible, DCL International recommends clamshell packaging. We offer both stock clamshell packaging and custom clamshell packaging.

The Best Packaging Option for You

A transparent clamshell is the most cost effective option, providing both the most security and the most product visibility. Research our process to see all of our clamshell packaging capabilities. Then, reach out to us and request a quote. DCP delivers small custom runs domestically with a fast turnaround time. For bigger savings, we also ship large runs offshore.