Five Questions to Help You Decide if Shrink Wrap Packaging is Right for You

Thermoforming companies

Would your business benefit from printed shrink sleeves? Printed shrink sleeves are the next big thing to hit the world of food packaging containers. The vibrant colors and total package marketing that printed shrink sleeves offers give it a huge wow factor sitting on the shelf.

Some business owners worry that the higher cost of printed shrink sleeves offsets the gains from it.
It’s true that the relatively new food packaging equipment technology that printed shrink sleeves utilizes comes at a higher cost than many other forms of food packaging, but in some cases the benefits make up for the cost. When deciding if printed shrink sleeves is the best packaging solution for your business, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What shape is your package?

    The shape of the product that you are labeling has a big impact on the cost of using shrink sleeves. If the product has a contour in the shape (think: a fluid bottle that is narrow at the bottle neck and around the bottom), then the shrink wrap will be able to cling to it through the power of physics. No extra effort necessary.

    On the other hand, if your product does not have any contour to the shape, you’ll have to add two dots of adhesive to keep the wrap in place. This is simple and inexpensive, but an additional step that the food packaging machine will have to take; when you multiple the extra effort by thousands of products, the cost adds up. Not to mention, customers are less excited about having glue on their product.

  2. Does the nature of your industry require tamper-evidence?

    If the business you are in requires tamper-evidence on all of your packaging, using shrink wrap packaging might kill two birds with one stone. Instead of requiring extra seals around the lid of your product (which costs additional money and time), the shrink wrap would cover the entire product. The only way to open it is to remove the shrink wrap, and make it evident that it is opened. If the cost of adding tamper-evidence and product packaging is greater than the cost of using shrink wrap, you could actually save money with this option.

    This goes without saying, but the health and regulatory compliance for tamper-evidence varies in every industry. You should check with an expert on regulations in your industry before using shrink wrap for tamper evidence.
  3. How often does the graphics on your packaging change?

    In some businesses, it is advantageous to update the packaging with new promotions or with the change of the season, and so on. With conventional packaging, every change in packaging graphics requires a great deal of lead time and additional cost. On the other hand, shrink wrap printing doesn’t require plate to be made for each change. Your packaging can be updated with the click of a button. If your business benefits from frequent packaging changes, this could also be a big advantage.

  4. How elaborate is the product design?
    Shrink wrap packaging is printed larger than the product and than heated to shrink the product like a glove. Since the size and shape of the graphics change when they are molded to the bottles, sometimes intricate details are lost in the process.

    If your branding and packaging requires elaborate graphics (such as precise, geometric shapes, or realistic photographs) you might find that shrink wrap packaging is not the best plan for you.

  5. How much packaging do you use currently?

    With conventional packaging, your product will usually require a label on the front and back (at a minimum). When you use shrink wrap packaging, one shrink wrap replaces all of the labels that you used on the entire product. Sometimes, this results in materials savings.

    However, using shrink wraps often require more steps, equipment, and labor than the normal methods. If your current packaging method is fairly low-maintenance, you might find that the effort involved in apply the shrink labels isn’t worthwhile.

    Keep in mind that you might find additional savings with shrink wraps by eliminating tamper-evident seals (as we mentioned previously), the process of removing bottle colorants, and decreasing the UV inhibitors, which are not needed with shrink wraps.

Considering these questions will help you determine when it’s time to make the change to shrink wrap packaging.

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