Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on June 3rd, 2021

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Primary Packaging VS Secondary Packaging

Supply Chain Services/ Contract Packaging | Shipping Protection

Hey there! It looks like you are researching packaging services. It also seems that you are trying to figure out which services you need.


Like many folks, I am willing to bet you are a little confused about the differences between primary and secondary packaging. Perhaps you have been doing packaging in-house for a long time. And, now, you are starting to look at outsourcing your packaging as an alternative.


Either way, it is pretty clear why you are here. You want to know what the difference between primary and secondary packaging is.


Well, your quest for this information is nearly complete! With over two decades in the contract packaging space, Industrial Packaging has you covered. We've done primary and secondary packaging for more clients than we can count!


In this article, we will define both primary and secondary packaging. And, we'll explain the differences between these two types of contract packaging services. When you have finished reading this article, you will know if these packaging services are a good fit for your business.


What Is Primary Packaging?


Primary packaging is the first layer of packaging that is touching your product. Primary packaging is used to protect your products from contamination and damage.


For example, let's say you go out and buy a nice bottle of scotch for your best friend's birthday. In this case, the bottle would be considered the primary packaging for the product. The label on the bottle would also be considered a part of the primary packaging.


Who Uses Primary Packaging?


Ha, this one is easy! Almost every company selling physical products will have some type of primary packaging. Unless, of course, their products can somehow be protected, branded, and unitized without using at least one packaging material.


Interested in outsourcing your primary and secondary packaging with a contract packaging plan?

Outsource My Packaging


What Is Secondary Packaging?


Secondary packaging is the next layer of packaging applied to the product after the primary packaging has been applied. This second layer of packaging is used for retail display applications. And, it helps to simplify the logistics of products by separating individual items from each other.


Secondary packaging is used as an additional layer of protection to the primary packaging. It is also used for branding and marketing purposes and commonly features materials that are printed upon with graphics, typography, and artwork.


Secondary packaging is ubiquitous throughout the food, cosmetic, OTC pharmaceutical, and beverage industries. It often makes the unitization, labeling, and palletizing of products easier. In that respect, it is a popular type of packaging for both practical and aesthetic reasons.


As for an example of secondary packaging, remember that bottle of scotch? The paperboard box used to package the bottle would be considered a form of secondary packaging.


Who Uses Secondary Packaging?


Secondary packaging may not be as universal in use as primary packaging, but it's pretty darn close. Unless a company can use its primary packaging as a SIOC (ship-in-own-container) solution, chances are, they are using some form of secondary packaging.


Which Is Right For You: Primary Packaging Or Secondary Packaging?


OK, so this is almost a trick question! Why? Well, for one thing, it is rare to find a company that is not using both primary and secondary packaging for their products. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. With that being said, to figure out if you need both types of packaging, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.


  • Does your product require additional protection besides its primary packaging to prevent breakage? - If you answered yes, you will need to use both primary and secondary packaging.

  • Can your product be shipped in its own container? - If you answered yes, you will only need to use primary packaging.

  • Does your product require minimalist packaging? If you answered yes, you may not need to use secondary packaging.


What Are The Next Steps To Outsourcing Primary And Secondary Packaging?


With the information above, you have everything you need to decide if you want to outsource your primary and secondary packaging. But, where do you go from here?


Well, the outsourcing of primary and secondary packaging is a form of contract packaging service. There may be other types of contract packaging services that you will want to outsource in tandem with your primary and secondary packaging.


Would you like to learn about the other types of contract packaging services that go hand in hand with the outsourcing of your primary and secondary packaging?


If you answered yes, you will want to read The Different Types Of Contract Packaging Services. This article will help you to better understand both primary and secondary packaging and their place within the full spectrum of contract packaging solutions.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.