Packaging is an essential step in the lifecycle of a product. Whether it’s for products within the cosmetic, pharmaceutical or food and beverage industries, there are certain levels of packaging and requirements in place that help bring the product safely to the consumer. And while more brands are making moves to become more sustainable, packaging can play an important role in those efforts, as heavier versus lighter materials can impact shipping costs.

Layers of Packaging

The average person is unfamiliar with the levels of packaging it takes to get a product from the plant to a store’s shelf. There are typically three layers of packaging that encase a product through its lifecycle – the primary packaging that holds the product itself, the secondary packaging that can hold a group of the product in one case (think of the box that holds hundreds of candy bars going to a store) and then there’s the third layer that carries mass loads of the product (like a pallet that holds many boxes being transported to a store).

Premium brands tend to use heavier packaging materials for their premium products, like the glass bottle of Coke that might be shipped in a wooden crate to give it that vintage look and feel. On the other hand, cheaper products are generally packed in more lightweight and flexible materials that enable a higher volume to be filled into a secondary container and mass shipped on a tertiary pallet.

Why This Matters

Across all three levels of packaging, the weight of packaging affects the total weight of shipping the products from the plant to the store. The heavier the shipment, the more fuel a truck has to consume when transporting the goods. And as brands continue to become more sustainable across their supply chains, they will want to think of their transportation costs as a factor in that discussion.

Additionally, when products are shipped directly to a consumer’s home, the weight factors into how the package is handled by the delivery person. When packages are smaller in size and lighter, it makes it easier for a delivery person to handle them with care and leave it in a safe area. If a package is larger or heavier, it can be difficult to handle and thus increases the likelihood that it can be dropped or left in the open at the bottom of the stairs.

Finally, packaging also factors into the total cost of a product, which eventually is felt by the consumer. If someone wants to pay for that premium product, like the glass-bottled Coke that comes in a 24-pack wooden crate, they’re going to pay a premium price for that. On the other hand, a brand that uses lightweight packaging materials across the three layers of packaging will likely have a less expensive product, which can be appealing to more consumers.

How We Are Helping Introduce Lightweight Packaging

The majority of the food and beverage industry uses steel lids on its jars, which may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things. However, when there are lightweight alternatives on the market, it becomes a big deal.

Consider when a manufacturer has to ship thousands of lids to a filler plant, fill jars with the product and then ship the final product containing the steel lid to the stores. The weight of those lids adds to the transportation costs. Compare that to an aluminum alternative lid, like the aluminum EEASY Lug Lid. Aluminum offers a weight advantage, being about one-third the weight of steel, according to the Aluminum Association. That can save a company thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the course of the year.

With the introduction of the aluminum EEASY Lug Lid earlier this year, we want to provide brands with an alternative packaging solution that can not only make their products more lightweight but also help them save money on their shipping costs. And with more lightweight packaging, products are not only easier for mass delivery but also for those carrying grocery bags from the store to home.