Clamshell packaging

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Clamshell packaging
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Clamshell packaging consists of a clear thermoformed sheet, usually hinged, with a top and bottom portion. The product is placed in the cavities formed by the sheet and the sheet is welded in place. Clamshell packaging has become a major form of packaging for retail goods, such as hardware goods, automotive parts and supplies, consumer goods, and household items. Due to their combination of transparency, durability and low cost, polyvinyl chloride (PCV) and PET are two common materials used in retail packaging. Typically, graphics are provided by inserting a paper card into the clamshell (B. A. Morris, 2016, p. 54).

These hard plastic containers are a necessity for many products - they provide protection and a simple display method, discourage shoplifting and can contain multiple pieces. Unfortunately, they can be as dull as they are practical. Furthermore, they can trigger a chintzy appearance of even a quality product (Fishel C., King Gordon S., 2007, p. 79).

Types of Retail Packaging

There are three main types of flexible packaging used for displaying goods in the retail environment:

  • clamshell packaging,
  • blister packaging,
  • carded skin packaging.

Stand-up pouches have also grown in use in the retail sector.

Blister packaging is a form of retail packaging in which the product is placed in a plastic blister on top of a paperboard. There are four main components for blister packaging: a preformed plastic blister, a paperboard card, a heat seal coating, and printing inks.

In skin packaging the product serves as the mold over which a heated plastic film (skin) is draped. Vacuum is drawn through a porous board to pull the film against the product and board, adjust it to the product's shape and create a seal of heat (B. A. Morris, 2016, p. 54-55).

Comparison of Retail Packaging Types

Consumer products companies generally seek packages that meet the following requirements:

  • transparent, so that the consumer can see the product,
  • tamper evident or difficulty to pilfer (to reduce in-store loses to theft),
  • easy to display (typically on a peg),
  • ability to have graphics to inform the consumer about the benefits of the product.

Choosing between the package forms is not always a clear choice.

The advantages of clamshell packaging:

  • transparency - the consumer is able to see the product,
  • they are difficult to open - good for stopping in-store theft,
  • perception of higher quality,
  • they allow packaging multiple items in a single package.

The disadvantages are:

  • higher material costs comparing to blister and skin packaging,
  • they are taking up more retail space - typically bulky packages (B. A. Morris, 2016, p. 56-57).


Author: Elżbieta Woyke