7 Major Benefits of Tamper-Proof Product Packaging
Many products are vulnerable to tampering and need extra security measures to protect product integrity. Because of the potentially catastrophic consequences of tampering, pharmaceutical companies and those in the food and beverage industry need to pay extra attention to package security. If your company produces or distributes products for human consumption, industry standards and regulations may also require you to use enhanced security measures to keep your customers safe and your corporate reputation intact.
What Is Tamper-Proof Packaging?
Many people confuse tamper-evident packaging with tamper-proof packaging. While both can contribute to product safety in a variety of ways, they are different.
Tamper-evident packaging doesn’t necessarily put a stop to tampering. Instead, it makes it clear that a product has been opened. Depending on which features a product has, it may not be evident until after someone purchases the product. One example is blister packaging. If any of the products are removed, it’s clear from the broken foil. Another example is vacuum-sealed jar lids that pop the first time they are opened. If you open the jar and do not hear the popping sound, you know the products package integrity has been compromised, and the product may have been rendered unsafe.
Tamper-evident packaging ensures the safety of unopened products. Without it, manufacturers might have to recall a whole shipment, or many shipments if products appear to be compromised. However, when you have physical evidence of which products have been tampered with, those items can be identified and removed from the supply chain much more easily and at a lower cost.
If you want to prevent more incidents of tampering, tamper-proof packaging is a more reliable option. Tamper-proof or tamper-resistant packaging makes packaging physically harder to open. You might see high-end products or medications that require an employee key to access, which prevents both theft and tampering. On the logistical side, tamper-resistant shipment packaging helps to prevent a box from being opened during transit, leaving the individually-wrapped items untouched.
Most cases of bottled water, soda, and specialty drinks have both tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packaging. It’s packaged for transport in tamper-resistant shrink wrap. Since it is harder to open without a blade or other tool, the package is less likely to be targeted by those inclined to tamper. Each bottle cap also has a tamper-evident seal. If someone opens a bottle breaking a seal, a shopper will have ample warning of package tampering before consumption.
7 Benefits of Tamper-Proof Packaging and Products
While tamper-evident features are required by regulation in many cases, marketers can reap other benefits by increasing package security. Tamper-proof shipping packaging allows you to protect your products and gain other advantages along every step in your supply chain.
Here are seven benefits of using tamper-resistant packaging and products.
1. Promotes Product Safety
Product safety is vital to your business. Depending on the industry, you must meet specific product safety regulations to protect consumers. Product recalls are costly. You’ll lose revenue and likely take a hit in the court of public opinion. Additional safety measures in every step of the supply chain can prevent these kinds of losses.
Tamper-resistant packaging for individually-wrapped products reduces the risk of contamination after the product leaves your hands. The Summer 2019 ice-cream licking trend revealed the vulnerability of many products on store shelves. Some shoppers may open a package to see if it’s something they want to buy.
Whether it’s due to malicious intent or an attempt to “try before you buy,” contamination is a major concern. Consumers are now more aware of the integrity of their food, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. So, they look for products that promote safety with seals that show the product hasn’t been opened.
2. Reduce the Risk of Damaged Products
Besides individually-wrapped products, tamper-proof packaging prevents damage during shipment. Additional measures, such as the application of plastic strapping helps prevent corrugated boxes from being opened during shipment. So, better packaging reduces the risk that products will become unusable during shipment.
When products get damaged on their way to a store or a consumer’s front porch, product marketers typically take the blame for a compromised packaged product. Even if a third-party shipper is at fault, it can reflect on a brand’s image and lead to lost sales opportunities.
Whether it happens during shipment or in another stage of your supply chain, product damage leads to lost revenue. Inventory shrinkage means you have less product to sell. Products that arrive damaged may require refunds or replacements at your own expense. You can decrease these incidents with tamper-proof packaging.
3. Quality Control
One job of your quality control team is to ensure that all the companies you work with meet your rigorous standards for sourcing, manufacturing and shipping. Using tamper-resistant packaging at every step in your supply chain ensures that both raw materials and finished products remain safe.
Even when quality control imposes standards on your logistics partners, consider the chain of custody of your products before they reach their final destination. When a raw material arrives damaged, it costs you time and money. If another company’s employee tampers with your products, it affects your reputation. Using tamper-proof shipping containers and asking your supply chain partners to do the same is a useful measure that heightens your overall product quality.
4. Financial Gains
Lower-quality, non-tamper resistant packaging is less durable and offers less protection. If you use it to secure your package before shipment, you may need more packaging to ensure it stays intact during transit. Thicker, stretch-resistant packaging and an efficient strapping system will enable you to wrap a package with less material and protect your shipments. By using less material to secure containers, you’ll benefit from a more environmentally sustainable packaging option and save money. Because of the superior packaging, you’ll also experience less product loss.
Tamper-resistant packaging can be applied by hand or automatically applied by machinery.
Manually applied packaging typically takes much longer to implement, often requires more than one person to administer effectively, and is generally applied less consistently due to the human element. Using an automatic machine can save time and allow associates previously assigned to hand sealing, to be freed up and reallocated to other higher-value work areas.
Tamper-proof packaging can also prevent theft during delivery. Because tamper-resistant packaging typically increases opening time, it can prevent efforts to remove a product from individually packaged SKUs or fully palletized product loads. While tamper-evident packaging does little to stop this type of product loss, the use of tamper-proof straps can provide significant benefits in preventing product loss through theft.
5. Increase Customer Loyalty and Trust
Your company probably already focuses on how package design can entice shoppers to select your product over your competitors. What might be less obvious is the role of safety features in buying decisions. Consider how a tub of ice cream with a thick tamper-evident seal around the rim looks compared to another brand without a seal. While almost all pill bottles have tamper-evident seals, they aren’t always apparent. Using a shrink seal in addition to a foil seal under the cap can advertise to shoppers that your product hasn’t been touched.
Consumers are more likely to put their trust in products that prove a commitment to health and safety when it comes to food and over-the-counter medicines and supplements. A seal lets shoppers feel safe placing items in their carts.
In the case of tamper-proof shipment packaging, you can also increase loyalty from the retailers who use your products. When more of your products arrive intact and ready to go on shelves, it builds trust in you as a supplier. Retailers won’t have to order larger quantities to account for shipping damage and will save time by not having to replace damaged goods.
6. Protection from Disastrous Events
If you’re in the pharmaceutical industry, the 1982 Chicago deaths linked to Tylenol still influence your packaging decisions. The incident, when pill bottles were poisoned with potassium-cyanide, also caused a string of copycat tampering. It caused the largest recall ever to hit the pharmaceutical industry, and it forever changed the way companies package products. Now, both Over the Counter and prescription drug products have childproof caps, foil seals, and plastic strips to stop criminals from opening them. They make it highly visible to a consumer if someone has tampered with them.
Simply put, tamper-proof packaging adds another layer of protection, keeping products safe and untouched during shipment.
7. Protect Customers
Taking measures to prevent damage and contamination to your products is advantageous for you and your customers. It shows you have a safety-first approach to your manufacturing and logistics that builds stronger relationships over time. Your retail partners know they can count on you to deliver products safely and in one piece.
While consumers might not realize which items on shelves arrived in tamper-proof shipping containers, they may still find hidden benefits. The extra protection can prevent damage to products inside their packaging, meaning consumers will not have to return items later. Because shipping with tamper-proof packaging results in less product loss, products are less expensive going to market and can provide wider profit margins or reduced retail costs.
The explosion of e-commerce has also given increased importance to safe shipment packaging for consumers. Since subscription meal kits and prescriptions can now ship directly to customers’ doors, you may need new ways to ensure they arrive intact. Tamper-proof packaging can protect your e-commerce customers and ensure safety concerns don’t factor in people’s buying decisions.
Options for Tamper-Proof Packaging
You can use many strategies to deter tampering and let your team and customers know if it has occurred. Three of the most popular methods include:
- Shrinkwrap: Plastic film loosely wrapped and then heated to shrink and form-fit around products. Shrinkwrap can envelop and restrain products to stabilize a load during shipping or even remain on products in stores. Similar technology is used to create sealed bands, like those found on ice cream tubs and pill bottles. While shrink wrap can make tampering more challenging, it also provides evidence if the shrink seal is broken.
- Stretch wrap: Highly stretchable plastic film used to secure multi-unit shipments and pallet loads. Unlike shrinkwrap, stretch wrap is stretched significantly during the application process and stays intact through its elastic recovery as well as sticking to itself and often used in conjunction with plastic strapping.
- Tamper-evident tape: Security tapes show evidence that they have been cut or removed. How does tamper-evident tape work? Depending upon the manufacturer, these security tapes self-destruct when altered. Some use aggressive adhesives that make it difficult to remove but, if altered, leave behind evidence. Some state ‘Opened’ in place of ‘Security’ or custom wording to clearly indicate a package has been breached. Less helpful is reinforced tape, which will display frayed edges revealing tampering.
- Tamper-resistant plastic strapping: Strapping is a highly reliable option, and can work in several ways. Plastic strapping can provide additional deterrents to would-be thieves by securing totes, for example, from distribution facilities to retail receiving departments. Its removal would indicate a potential loss. The use of strapping can also provide additional structural support. You can increase the protection level by adding two straps to your shipments instead of one.
If You Choose Plastic Strapping
Strapping is easy to apply with manually operated machines or automatic, high-speed systems. Sealing technologies offer greater benefits when optimizing security. Innovative SoniXs® Ultrasonic Sealing Technology from EAM-Mosca, for example, is most helpful when you need tamper-proof straps. Having a durable bond on your banding ensures it does not fail. Mosca’s ultrasonic welding in many ways, is superior to traditional heat-seal strapping technology. During the sealing process, a high-frequency vibration is applied to both ends of the plastic strapping, creating molecular friction that melts the strap ends together for a secure bond. The seal is typically harder to break, and the visible evidence of a break is irreversible.
In addition to its strength and tamper-resistance, it also has a tamper-evident seal. The distinctive impression found on Mosca’s ultrasonically-sealed strap makes it easy to identify if the packaging has been tampered with. If the strap is removed and reapplied, the seal will be distinguishably different. Many health care distribution companies that utilize tote systems have successfully replaced older strapping or tying systems with Mosca’s innovative SoniXs® strapping technology. Custom seal signatures are also available for an even greater level of security.
For additional protection, in many cases the use of Polyester (PET) strapping is an ideal solution. It resists elongation and maintains package integrity during shipment. EAM-Mosca’s PET straps have a 2-6% stretch, and the SoniXs® 4technology works with a broad tension range. Because PET has less stretch, straps are harder to remove and replace without breaking the seal. The banding comes in 9 mm, 11 mm and 12 mm widths, and it maintains its tension during shipment and storage. It is generally accepted that an embossed sealing surface, such as the one featured in EAM-Mosca PET strapping products, is ideal for consistent strapping machine performance and strap seal integrity. Our PET straps come in a range of tensile strengths, up to 775 pounds.
EAM-Mosca Can Help
Tamper-proof and tamper-evident packaging is essential for consumer safety, whether you’re in pharmaceuticals, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, or durable goods. EAM-Mosca has been helping many companies meet or exceed performance safety standards with SoniXs® ultrasonic sealing technology combined with PP and PET strapping materials. Beyond tamper deterrence, Mosca’s efficient system designs reduce maintenance and downtime. In addition, they minimize strapping material consumption and waste while conserving energy.
EAM-Mosca has been a partner to many consumer products companies, healthcare distribution, 3PL companies, and well-equipped to offer custom solutions for increased security needs. When one of EAM-Mosca’s healthcare distribution customers decided to upgrade their security by using dual straps instead of one, they designed a tandem strapping system that maximizes uptime and production line performance. This system allowed them to enhance security and improve overall line efficiency.
Learn more about the solutions we have provided to various companies and contact us to discuss any custom strapping applications you have. We’re always eager to help companies increase package security and solve complex strapping challenges.
EAM-Mosca Corporation provides high-performance strapping system solutions to a variety of industries, including food, graphic arts, mailing, fulfillment, logistics, corrugated, wood, and other industrial or consumer goods. The company combines innovative equipment with strapping materials manufactured to maximize machine performance and customer support programs that help customers meet their performance and productivity goals.