When it comes to the food business, the packaging is critical in maintaining the safety and quality of your products. However, packing frozen food products can be especially tricky since you need materials that can withstand extremely low temperatures. Aside from this key feature, they also need to be durable, leak-proof, grease-resistant, and easy to seal and store.
Overall, when dealing with frozen food products, you need to select a durable packaging material. It should keep your food fresh, preserve its taste and texture, and prevent it from drying out. With so many important aspects to consider, it can be hard to find the right packaging design for your frozen food. To help you get started, we’ll walk you through different types of frozen food packaging used in the industry.
Get to know each one to learn how they work and where they’re commonly used. This way, you can decide what material will best fit your product.
To give you a better idea of what packaging options you have, here are nine different types of frozen food packaging to choose from.
Shrink film, also known as shrink wrap, is one of the most common types of frozen food packaging. It’s a plastic film applied to products through heat sealing. This process involves heating the film with a heat gun to shrink it and wrap around the interior product tightly.
Shrink films are made with either polyethylene, poly-vinyl-chloride, or polyolefin. Among the three, polyolefin is the go-to choice for food packaging since it’s FDA food-safe approved. It’s also durable and affordable, which makes it perfect for small or big manufacturers alike.
You’ll find countless food items packaged with polyolefin shrink films. Some common examples of frozen foods that work with this material include fruits and vegetables, pizzas, pies, baked goods, and meat and poultry. As you can see, this packaging works great for the majority of frozen items that people stock up in their pantries.
Aluminum is another standard packaging for frozen food products, usually in the form of foil trays or pans. In most cases, the packaging design contains cardboard or wax-coated toppers placed on top of the container, which is then sealed with a shrink film. You’ll often see aluminum used to package frozen dishes like lasagna, macaroni, salisbury steak, and other complete meals..
According to the US Department of Agriculture, aluminum foil is a great choice for wrapping frozen food since it’s a food-grade material. It’s also light, flexible, and non-toxic, which ensures that your food stays safe while in the container. While aluminum is also recyclable, it may be difficult to do this since there tends to be leftover food bits that are hard to remove from the container.
While not as common as other frozen food packaging materials, glass may also be used to wrap frozen products. These are more common among luxury or upscale manufacturers since glass is much heavier than other materials, which makes it expensive to ship. Some products that you may find in glass packaging include gelato, premium ice cream, or even frozen fruits like bananas.
Despite its price and weight, glass is recyclable and reusable, which makes it great for long-term use. Customers can store other food items in the glass container after emptying it, so it also appeals to those who can afford to pay more for your products.
Lidding films are food-grade plastic films often used to make lids or closures on food containers for frozen meals, yogurt, or ice cream. This flexible packaging comes in easy-peel or lock-tight variants. As its name suggests, easy-peel allows you to peel out the film easily from the container. On the other hand, lock-tight films contain a sealant for stronger adhesion, so you’ll need scissors or a knife to open the container.
Some packers may also offer resealable lidding films. These work great for larger food servings that can be split into portions since you can reseal the container to preserve freshness. Regardless of what type you choose, you can customize your packaging design with high-quality prints or keep them clear for product visibility.
Wax-coated cardboard is widely used for packing pre-frozen meals since it’s heat-resistant, which means you can heat the food without removing it from the container. The most popular example that uses this type of packaging is frozen Chinese food, so people can easily pop it in the microwave to have their meal.
Aside from being heat-resistant, wax-coated cardboard is also durable and versatile. But since it’s not recyclable, it contributes to piles of waste that get thrown into landfills.
Solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard is a durable and high-quality board used to make packages or boxes. Despite being lightweight, this material is stable and can stand up to cold freezer temperatures. Thus, they’re suitable for frozen food products, including pizzas, cakes, pies, sushi, meat, and the like.
Since SBS paperboard is made from bleached virgin wood pulp and coated with clay, it offers a smooth surface for high-quality printing. This allows you to create beautiful and vibrant designs to catch your customer’s attention and showcase your product. Most likely, you’ve seen many of these boxes in frozen food aisles as they’re very eye-catching and attractive.
Individually quick frozen (IQF) polyethylene is a special type of low-density polyethylene film designed to freeze food rapidly to prevent damaging its cellular structure. It works by sealing at low temperatures and maximum speeds.
Essentially, it works by applying the film through a rollstick or sealant lamination layer or using pre-made bags made with it. Then, your packaged food goes through a blast freezer tunnel with a temperature of -40°F to seal the film. Given its quick-freezing properties, IQF polyethylene works great for frozen fruits and vegetables, meat, and seafood.
Another popular frozen food packaging is skin film. Like IQF polyethylene, this material is commonly used for frozen meat or seafood like salmon or trout.
Skin film is essentially a flexible vacuum film that wraps around your product, acting like a “second skin” or protective coating that prevents contaminants from getting inside. While skin film seals your product tightly, it’s free from tension and doesn’t cause deformation. Once packaged, your product can be displayed in any way since the film keeps the content intact.
Flexible bags are packaging pouches that can be made with different materials like foils or food-grade plastics. They’re sometimes designed like stand up pouches and can be used to package different products, such as frozen vegetables, meats, ready-to-eat meals, pasta, and others.
One advantage of using this type of flexible packaging is they’re lighter and take up less space. Thus, frozen food manufacturers can ship out more products at a time and save on transport costs. At the same time, customers can fit more of these bags in their freezer, which makes them appealing to people with limited freezer space.
With so many frozen food packaging materials to choose from, it’s understandably hard to decide what will best suit your needs. On top of that, you want to make sure you get quality packaging materials that will keep your products safe and secure.
If you need to know how to find a co-packer, Sunleaf Foods is here to help you out. We take the time to learn about your business needs, then connect you to the most suitable co-packer from our network. Rest assured, we have your best interests in mind. Thus, we pay close attention to the smallest details to ensure you find durable, cost-effective, and scalable packaging.
For more information, contact us today at 949-799-4820 or send us an inquiry through our website. We can discuss different types of frozen food packaging and talk about what you’re looking for.