4 Popular Food Packaging Materials for Small Food Businesses

4 Popular Food Packaging Materials for Small Food Businesses

The world food industry is expected to grow by 6.74 % in the next five years, making it a great time to join the food industry. You can start a food business by selling from the comfort of your kitchen and then conveniently marketing and selling your products online to your customers. Food packaging is one of the most essential parts of running a food business. If neglected, it can spoil or destroy your food. The correct packaging keeps food fresh and makes it look appealing.

Here are four popular food packaging materials to package food for your small food business to sell to customers or markets.

1. Seal Bags

Seal bag is a popular choice for packaging food. They have the most negligible environmental impact among commonly used packaging materials. Despite being made of polyethylene plastic, their carbon footprint is lower than that of other popular packaging materials like glass and rigid plastic because they take up less landfill space. Seal bags are also cheaper to order in bulk to deliver food to your home since they’re light and have significantly lower shipping prices. And since they are made of plastic, they are shatterproof, ensuring you receive as many units as you ordered. 

Seal bags are customizable, and you can add a clear window in front, allowing the customer to see the food before opening it. You can also customize sealed bags with your logo and design to make them eye-catching. The bags’ soft material lets the customer feel the items inside before opening them.

You can use sealed bags to package any dry food you sell, like cookies, chips, and nuts. They’re mainly used for packaging coffee, as their packaging valves prevent air from entering and rotting the coffee. However, seal bags are not biodegradable, so they persist if not recycled and can break down into microplastics over time, leading to pollution.

2. Glass Jars

Glass is a popular choice to sell food due to its long shelf life and luxurious feeling. Its transparent material lets customers view your product without opening the jar, making the food recognizable from afar. The recyclable nature of glass makes glass jars environmentally friendly, but glass has a very high carbon footprint because of its extreme melting points.

Glass jars are expensive due to their weight and require extra packaging because of their fragility. This extra weight means fewer glass jars are delivered per shipment than their counterparts, making them an expensive packaging option. Glass is also highly fragile. Despite meticulous packaging, it is not uncommon to find it shattered when used to deliver food, making for many unsatisfied customers.

Food Packaging Materials

3. Clamshell Boxes

Clamshell boxes are made from many materials, such as cardboard, plastic, styrofoam, and recycled packaging. It consists of two shell-shaped rectangles joined on one side and has a nob or clasp on the opposite side to close the box.

Clamshell packages provide a contained environment that reduces moisture and air exposure and is easy to transport. That’s why they’re commonly used to package fresh, on-the-go foods such as salads and sandwiches. Their impact on the environment depends on the material they’re made from. PET Plastic clamshell boxes are the most common and 100% recyclable. Plant-based clamshells are not recyclable and can only be composted.

4. Paperboard Boxes

Paperboard boxes are commonly used for packaging cereals, snacks, and pasta. They have a similar texture to corrugated boxes, but they’re thinner. Paperboard resembles ordinary paper but is thicker, making it more rigid and lighter than cardboard. Paperboard boxes are entirely recyclable if not stained with food particles or liquids. And their carbon footprint is lower than that of glass due to its lightweight.

The rigid material of these boxes protects the food inside them during transportation and makes them easily stored and stackable. Additionally, you can customize them by adding built-in thermal liners or compartments to keep the food fresh. Paperboard boxes are perfect for running a meal kit or monthly kit business, as you can easily transport your food in them and keep it fresh for a long time.


Proper food packaging is essential for your food business. It keeps the food fresh and makes it appealing to customers, so choosing the right packaging option is essential. Seal bags are popular, reusable, cheap, and easily customizable. In comparison, glass packaging is excellent for increasing your food’s shelf life and displaying your product, but it has high shipping costs. Comparatively, clamshell boxes come in many materials and can package food items like salads and sandwiches. Paperboard boxes are recyclable, rigid, and have cost-effective shipping.