Choosing the Right Packaging for Your Meat Products

Choosing the Right Packaging Type for Your Meat Products


With more meals being prepared at home, the significance of packaging in shaping consumer choices cannot be overstated. This is particularly true for meat products, where packaging can play an even more pivotal role. In 2023, U.S. Meat Department sales were more than $122 billion—up more than $39 billion from 2020. To keep up with this growing demand, meat brands and packagers can benefit from embracing effective and efficient flexible packaging solutions.

Two questions commonly asked by the meat industry: what packaging solutions are available for different types of meat products and what benefits do these packaging solutions bring to my operation and consumers? The answers to these questions depend on the unique goals and requirements of each meat product. Below, we outline how meat brands and packagers can collaborate to find tailored solutions that fit their needs.

Extending Shelf Life: The Role of Film Materials and Closures for Meat Packaging 

With all meat product types, whether frozen, deli, or processed, the right packaging film material and compatible closure can help maintain the quality of the product. When used in combination with proper refrigeration or freezing, reclosable flexible packaging can provide a strong moisture and oxygen barrier that helps extend the shelf life of meat products. Once the package is opened, a reclosability feature can help maintain the moisture barrier so the meat product can be consumed in multiple servings. In addition to finding a packaging type that is suitable to your meat product’s specific requirements, it should also provide a positive experience for the consumer.

For instance, if you offer a high-end deli meat at a premium price, the consumer expects a premium package and closure that will match that meat product’s quality and help maintain its freshness. Consumers should expect to have the same experience with the meat product every use, even after multiple times opening and closing the package. A quality zipper or slider on a package can help preserve freshness and reduce potential leakage from the meat products.

For example, the Fresh-Lock® Multiplex Zipper Style 8555 offers a variety of attributes beneficial to the meat industry. This innovative closure features an easy open and close experience that consumers can hear and feel, as well as five sets of interlocking channels that help seal in freshness, unlike other “hook and hook” closures, which allow air to pass through. Multiplex is compatible with a wide range of polyethylene recyclable films and works well with a variety of pouch making equipment. 

package zipper style 8555

Fresh-Lock® Multiplex zipper Style 8555

Infrastructure Considerations for Meat Packaging Materials

The Fresh-Lock® team understands the significance of an efficient packaging operation: the product must run fast on lines with a wide operating window, the zipper must seal well with films and structures, and there must be no leaking or loss of atmosphere.

To understand what packaging materials will work best for your meat packaging operation, your current equipment and capabilities must first be assessed. Are you using thermoforming or form, fill, and seal? What is the intended design of the package? The right packaging partner will ask you these questions to make the best recommendations for your needs.

For operations using vertical form, fill, and seal equipment, our Fresh-Lock® Pre-Zip closure is pre-applied to rollstock and designed to seamlessly work with your existing converting equipment with little to no modification. Pre-Zip provides a broader operating window than comparable products for greater flexibility across a wide range of applications. The flat sealant layer enhances sealability and compatibility to various films, allowing you to keep the packaging materials that work best for your meat products.

Meanwhile, Fresh-Lock® Thermoform Zippers are specially designed to meet the challenges of thermoform packaging often used for processed meats, such as hot dogs and pepperoni. These meat packaging closures are designed for a variety of flexible packaging applications. For example, our Thermoform zippers are made with resins that can help avoid the unattractive puckering of the film and distortion of graphics. Plus, given their flexibility, our Thermoform zippers feed smoothly into the equipment and can be custom to your brand’s aesthetic and appearance—helping you portray a better-looking package for your retail deli applications.

thermal form package zipper closure

Fresh-Lock® Thermoform Zippers

While each of our meat packaging closures offer many benefits on the operational side, the consumer experience is what will truly drive increased revenue.

Enhancing the Consumer Experience with Premium Packaging Solutions for Meat 

The reclosable packaging market is poised for significant growth from 2024 to 2031, largely fueled by increasing consumer demand. Reclosability is a pivotal feature offering the advantage of preventing product leakage or breakage.

According to the USDA, it is oftentimes safe to freeze meat within its original packaging. Despite this fact, many consumers still choose to repackage their meat products due to a lack of confidence in the reusability of the original packaging. By repackaging their meat products, the consumer seeks to maintain product quality, prevent freezer burn, and access the product over multiple uses. Reclosable flexible packaging eliminates this process with a quality zipper to help keep the meat product in its best condition, combat food waste, and keep important brand and product information with the consumer.

Meat packaging that uses closures adorned with tear bead designs like Fresh-Lock® Zipper-Top can significantly bolster the meat package's hermetic seal compared to other perforated styles. This not only helps mitigate oxygen transmission but can also preserve the product's quality over time. Moreover, integrating reclosability into the meat packaging adds convenience while instilling confidence in consumers, assuring them of the package's integrity prior to purchase.

Finding the Right Packaging Materials for Your Meat Products

With frozen, deli, and processed meats, each need to be packaged correctly to maximize their flavors and prevent moisture loss—all while keeping the consumer in mind. Packaging your meat products with innovative closures will leave a lasting impression, while reinforcing product quality and benefits.

If you do not see a reclosable flexible packaging option that fits your needs or don’t know what would work best with your meat product, contact the Fresh-Lock team today, and we can collaborate to develop the best solution for your needs.


This blog was originally published on 06/29/2021 but updated and refreshed on 03/12/2024.

Markets: Meat & Seafood
Applications: Consumer Preferred

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