The 3 Layers of Product Packaging: What’s the Difference?

The 3 Layers of Product Packaging: What’s the Difference?

The average consumer encounters hundreds of packaging variations in a day. From the cereal box and milk carton they reach for in the morning to the corrugated shipping box delivered to their doorsteps, product packaging variations are present everywhere every day. 

For your business, designing and creating appropriate, efficient, and high-quality product packaging is vital in catching the buyer’s attention and showing necessary product information. But there are several layers beyond the one you first see. Whether the goods you’re selling are coming from a store shelf or shipments from a warehouse, keeping these items protected should be your number one priority. 

The 3 Layers of Product Packaging

Being familiar with the different layers of packaging can help businesses select the best protection for their products. The packaging material also makes it easier to decide which types of printing for packaging are better for each level. 

  1. Tertiary Packaging

Tertiary packaging, also called bulk or transit packaging, is used to protect, handle, and ship batches of sales units or secondary packaging containers (a box within a box). It groups large quantities of products for better protection when transporting them from point A to point B, such as from the production warehouse to the point of sale. 

Tertiary packaging makes it easier to safely and securely transport large or heavy goods, preventing damage that may occur without robust protection. It also facilitates the handling and storage of the products. Tertiary packaging involves stretch-wrapping cardboard boxes containing the products on a pallet. 

This layer of packaging can include visual brand elements for easy identification of the parcels.

tertiary packaging
  1. Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging refers to the boxes that come inside tertiary packaging. Secondary packaging groups the primary packaging units together. 

Apart from providing an extra layer of protection, secondary packaging also facilitates the transport of smaller products, putting individual units into one pack. It should be durable enough to protect the products inside when moving it from one place to another but easy enough to open whenever a worker needs to restock the aisle in grocery stores. 

This type of packaging usually consists of multiple components, such as the box, padding, separators, paper, and more. One of its primary purposes is for the branding of the product, as it is designed to display units for sale, ready from storeroom to shelf. So expect to see branded graphics on the external packaging material. 

secondary packaging
  1. Primary Packaging

Finally, primary packaging is the layer that closely protects or contains the product itself. Necessary product and brand elements often appear on the primary packaging. Often known as retail or consumer packaging, this is the packaging that buyers typically see first when the products are displayed on store shelves. 

Besides protecting the product until it reaches the user, primary packaging serves another essential function: it’s often the place for brands to put their logo, slogan, and other important product information. Primary packaging can come in various materials, such as plastic, paperboard, fiberboard, and more. 

Common examples of primary packaging are the corrugated box that encloses a smartphone and its accessories and documents, cereal boxes, the can that holds a soda, and the foil or bottle that contains medications. 

primary packaging

Know the Different Levels of Packaging

Products are never sold without proper packaging. Every business has its own needs, and knowing how packaging and logistics work can help you make informed business decisions for your products. Understanding the purpose of every level of packaging and how it completes your product overall can make your business stand out from the competition. 

If you need an expert opinion to decide what is best for your business, reach out to Meyers. It’s time to bring your product package ideas to life with professional printing solutions.