A product’s packaging and labeling contribute significantly to a product’s success or failure. Frequently small and medium-sized meat processors pay a lot of attention to the ingredients used in a product and the way the product is manufactured and fail to pay enough attention to how the product is packaged and labeled. The first impression customers, particularly potential new customers, get of a product is how it looks in its package. Packaging is very important because it both protects and presents a product.



There are many ways a retail product can be packaged. Some of the most common ways are;

Overwrapped on a foam tray: When product is packaged on a foam tray, the product should be neatly placed on the tray. The film should be properly stretched across the product, free of wrinkles, and properly sealed on the bottom so there are no loose edges.

Vacuum packaged in a clear, heat shrinkable bag: Vacuum packaging in a clear, heat shrinkable bag is an excellent way to package retail products. It works particularly well for products that have more than a couple of days of packaged shelf-life such as bacon, ham and cooked sausages. When vacuum packaging products use the correct size bag. Vacuum packaged products with wide loose edges on the top, bottom or sides do not look attractive. Carefully place the product in the bag so it makes a nice presentation after drawing a vacuum and sealing. Correctly heat shrink the bag following the bag manufacturer’s directions so the bag shrinks tightly around the product.

Individual package in a box: Typically retail product packaged in a box has been vacuum packaged before it is put into the box. Sliced bacon is often packaged this way. Make sure the box is the correct size for the product and the box is strong enough that it will not collapse or flatten if several boxes are stacked on top of each other when placed in a retail sales display.



Your product label should meet several criteria.

  • Your label should be attractive and designed so it can be easily read. It can be in either black and white or color.
  • The label should be properly applied to the package. A crooked label on a package can immediately send a negative signal.
  • Your label should be informative. The label should list the product name, weight of the package (if each package has a specific weight) and your company name and address (you may elect to list just your city and state). The label may also contain information about how to handle the product before consumption with a statement such as Ready-to-Eat or Cook Before Eating. If there is room on the label, or perhaps a second label, you can list detailed cooking or reheating directions. For a customer to get maximum satisfaction when consuming your product, they need to properly prepare it.
  • The label must meet all regulatory requirements and must be approved prior to use if it has an inspection legend, either federal, state, or CIS (Cooperative Interstate Shipment, on it.

The first impression a potential customer gets of your product is how it looks in its package. Good packaging and labeling can help you attract new customers and retain existing customers. A satisfied customer of your product is more likely to try a competitor’s product if the competitor has packaging that is much more attractive and professional looking than yours. If you are trying to get someone to purchase your product for resale it is definitely to your advantage to have it attractively packaged. Visit a few grocery stores, and you will see a wide range in how products are packaged and labeled. A little extra attention to detail in packaging and labeling your product will pay you big dividends.

Remember: you must please the eyes first. IP