sliced swiss cheese

A Cut Above: Exploring Flexible Packaging Solutions for Cheese


When it comes to enjoying culinary delights, many consumers continue to turn to their kitchens instead of restaurants. After gaining confidence in the kitchen during 2020 and 2021, many Americans are creating their own unique dishes at home, providing an opportunity to spend quality time cooking with their families while saving money. As these consumers look for inspiration to create delicious, homemade meals, cheese is one well-loved ingredient that can go a long way in enhancing the flavor or texture of a dish.

This growing number of home chefs has created an increase in demand for many product categories. Dairy, in particular, has seen a drastic increase in demand, especially cheese products that are ideal for home consumption, like 6- to 8-ounce shredded and sliced cheeses. In fact, shredded natural cheese dollar sales equaled $6.7 billion in 2023, a significant increase from its dollar sales of $5.98 billion in 2020.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Cheese Packaging Materials

When it comes to helping keep cheese products safe and fresh, choosing the right packaging materials is key. Brands need to consider various factors for cheese packaging, such as understanding the supply chain, the specific preservation requirements of cheese products, and how cheese is used in consumers’ homes, as well as sustainability concerns. By carefully evaluating these aspects, brands can make informed decisions when selecting the ideal packaging solutions for their cheese products.

The Importance of Durable Packaging Materials for Cheese

In addition to cooking at home, many consumers are continuing to order their groceries from home. This growing focus on e-commerce has led fresh food segments like cheese to find proper distribution methods to ensure product integrity upon delivery. For cheese, refrigeration and quick distribution are key. Soft cheeses, like brie, feta, and Munster, that contain a lot of moisture must always be refrigerated, while cheddar and other hard cheeses can tolerate some level of temperature variation.

bringing in the groceries

Flexible packaging is an excellent answer to these challenges, as it can help maintain the appropriate atmosphere within cheese packaging during refrigerated distribution. The durability of flexible films also helps protect the product throughout the rigorous e-commerce supply chain, which can leave other packaging formats damaged and result in negative impressions about the brand, or worse, a contaminated product.

The Versatility of Reclosable Flexible Packaging for Cheese Preservation

After delivery, cheese packaging solutions should provide an optimal consumer experience and help extend the product’s shelf life. Home cooks – especially new home cooks – who have a bad experience with packaging may be less likely to buy the same product in the future.

Flexible packaging offers the barrier properties and closure technologies necessary to help keep cheese fresh after the package has been opened and reclosed. Because many cheese products are used over the course of multiple days, the cheese packaging must help maintain a moisture barrier after each reclose to prevent the cheese from drying out or producing mold.

Fresh-Lock® Double Lock Zippers are excellent flexible packaging closure options for helping consumers maintain this moisture barrier. The double-zipper structure of these closures helps to slow down moisture transmission rates and helps the cheese keep its same moisture level as when it was first opened. In addition to consumer benefits, Double Lock Zippers provide several manufacturing advantages:

fresh lock zipper styles 122, 142, and 242 flexible package closures

  • Easy crushing locks require minimal heat for sealing, which helps protect films from distorting while allowing faster converting cycles. 
  • Made of Soft Seal® material and leveraging our sealant rib technology to help converting performance for high-integrity seals that won’t leak, gap, or distort.
  • Work seamlessly with a wide variety of high-speed packaging equipment.
  • Style 142 has a ribbed sealant and Style 242 is a flat sealant.
  • Available with either clear or colored locks.

Reclosability features in cheese packaging can serve a dual purpose beyond helping maintain freshness; they can also help instill confidence in consumers that their cheese package is securely closed. Closures with audible-tactile features are particularly advantageous for cheese packaging, as they can help prevent consumers from mistakenly assuming the package is securely reclosed when it’s not. Our Fresh-Lock® Click ’N Lock™ Sensory Zippers have become a preferred choice on cheese packaging for this reason. These zippers provide an easy open and close with an audible snap and solid touch for each section as it closes. This portfolio of closures also offers a number of benefits to packagers:

fresh lock zipper styles 538 and 584 - flexible package closures
  • Enhanced sealant layer adheres easily to film structures.
  • Available in clear and colored locks.
  • Outside of food, this is also ideal for food, pet food and treats, and lawn and garden.

Reclosable Cheese Packaging Supports Sustainability

Another benefit of reclosable flexible packaging for cheese fanatics is the opportunity to support sustainable initiatives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. discards nearly 60 million tons of food every year, equating to 325 pounds of waste per person. While reclosable flexible packaging helps combat this waste by helping prevent cheese products from spoiling before they can be consumed, brands can take their cheese packaging solutions one step further by providing opportunities for package circularity.

Sargento Sliced Cheese Packaging

By adopting recycle-ready or compostable packaging materials, cheese brands can attract eco-conscious consumers and help prevent packaging from ending up in landfills. For products like cheese that leave residue in the package after use, education is a must so that consumers understand how to properly clean and dispose of the packaging.

Consumers will enjoy knowing that their support of flexible packaging for cheese has environmental benefits at the manufacturing stage as well. Optimizing a package’s lifecycle by designing waste out of the package at the earliest stages of development is a great method for achieving source reduction. Fewer materials and natural resources are required to produce flexible packaging, and its lightweight format helps reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

All of these benefits must be communicated to consumers to get them excited about supporting flexible packaging solutions.

Flexible Packaging Solutions to Attract Cheese Customers

Product protection. Functionality. Sustainability. Cheese packaging that can provide all of these benefits to home chefs will stand out among the multitude of choices and help drive repeat purchases. A reclosable flexible pouch with Fresh-Lock® closure technology can ensure that no matter who’s in charge of adding the cheese to a dish, from the most experienced cook to the youngest family member, the product can be easily and properly reclosed for an optimal experience.

If you don’t see a closure option that fits your needs or aren’t sure what would work best for your cheese product, contact the Fresh-Lock team today, and we can collaborate to find the best solution for your needs.


This blog was originally published on 6/3/2021 but updated and republished on 3/18/2024.

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