Food Packaging With Polyolefin Shrink Film

The food packaging industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Limited shelf space on grocery stores leaves companies constantly searching for new and creative ways for products to stand out on shelves. As time progresses, food packaging designs and materials become more and more complex.

Some companies prefer to display their products instead of spending massive amounts of money to enclose their products in packaging. In some areas within the food industry, clear packaging to display products is an excellent option. Many pastries, breads, desserts, meats, candies,  and more use a form of clear packaging to display products.

There are a variety of clear packaging options available for food packaging. Some clear packaging options used with a variety of food products include Poly bags, Clear Polypropylene containers, Clear PET Containers, Cellophane, Shrink Film, Paperboard boxes, and more.

Each material offers advantages and disadvantages. Polyolefin shrink film like other materials offers advantages and disadvantages when packaging food products. Let's examine some of the benefits and drawbacks of food packaging with polyolefin shrink film. We will also show some excellent examples of food products packaged with polyolefin shrink film.

Advantages of Food Packaging with Polyolefin Shrink Film

Cost - One tremendous benefit of packaging any product with shrink film is cost. Shrink packaging can cost pennies per product to package. Many other packaging options can cost much more than shrink wrap packaging. Start-up costs vary depending on the level of output. Small businesses wrapping a few hundred products per week can purchase machinery and film for under $500.

Higher output operations can purchase semi-automatic machines to package over a thousand products per day for under $5,000 - $7,000. Rolls of polyolefin shrink film can cost from $100 - $250 depending on the film width and thickness.

Efficiency - Automatic and manual shrink wrapping machines can be highly efficient and offer users the ability to package dozens of products per minute. Packagers can often run a highly efficient packaging line with two employees.

Product Protection and Preservation - Shrink film packaging works great in preserving and protecting food products from exterior elements. Shrink film is an excellent barrier from moisture, dust, and other contaminants. With proper seals, shrink film can help in preserving product shelf lives as well.

Clarity - Polyolefin offers great clarity for companies wanting to display products within the packaging. Compared to many other shrink film materials, polyolefin offers the best clarity on the market.

Bundling Multiple Products - Shrink film is an excellent way to bundle and contain multiple products together. Food producers can place multiple products within the same package and shrink them together to hold products in place while maintaining a professional packaging appearance.

Disadvantages of Food Packaging with Polyolefin Shrink Film

Other Packaging Materials often required - For some food products, another packaging material is often required to obtain a professional look. Some products may require a Styrofoam tray, paperboard container, or other packaging material to be used with the shrink film to achieve a professional look.

Deformed Products - The high shrink rate polyolefin shrink film offers can cause products to deform because of too much shrinkage. Often times this can be overcome by using a secondary packaging material such as a paperboard container. This allows the shrink film to conform to the container rather than the food product.

Ballooning - This is caused by trapped air within the sealed shrink film. For many food products, this is not an issue and can be overcome by using a small needle-sized vent hole to allow air to escape.

Dog Ears - When the sealed corners of shrink film are not heated to proper temperatures, dog ears can form and create an unattractive finished look. This problem can be overcome by increasing the shrink temperature applied to the film.

Equipment Required for Shrink Film Packaging

Food packaging with shrink film requires the same equipment as any retail shrink packaging. Below are the three required items needed for food shrink packaging.

Sealer - A sealer is a heating bar that melts the film together to seal open ends. Sealers come in a variety of sizes and capabilities depending on levels of output and product size. Simple low-output hand impulse sealers start under $70. These sealers are capable of packaging up to 100 - 200 products per day depending on the operator and product size.

Higher output sealers offer more efficiency, but start-up costs can be more costly. Higher output sealers can range from $250 - $6000 depending on the size and efficiency of output. View our guide to shrink wrap machine costs for more detailed information about sealers and shrink wrap equipment.

Heating Element - This is what applies heat to the shrink film after the seals have been made. There are two common forms of heating elements used. A shrink gun is often used for low output operations and prices begin at under $55. We recommend a heat gun for anyone wrapping a few products per day up to a couple of hundred products per day.

Once output exceeds 100 - 200 products per day companies should consider purchasing a shrink tunnel. Shrink tunnels often have a start-up cost of over $2000, but dramatically increase productivity. Our smallest shrink tunnel will shrink 10 - 15 products per minute or up to 700 products per day. Larger shrink tunnels can shrink thousands of products per day.

Shrink Film - Polyolefin shrink film commonly comes in centerfold rolls and shrink bags. Each type of film offers advantages. Centerfold shrink film is commonly used for use on medium to high-speed machines. Bags are great for use in low output operation because they only require one side to be sealed. I-Bar sealers are less expensive and more cost effective for companies on a budget and perfect for use with shrink bags.

Polyolefin shrink film can be used to package individual food products such as cookies, muffins, candies, and other products. Most commonly, polyolefin shrink film is used to package multiple products together. The shrink film hold the products in place and protects from exterior elements. When used for bundling multiple products, polyolefin film can be used as primary packaging coming into direct contact with the food product or secondary packaging for products already individually wrapped. Check out the video below to see examples of both.

Call us if you have any questions about wrapping your products with polyolefin shrink film.



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