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Primary packaging

Is the packaging in direct contact with the product itself and is sometimes referred to as a consumer unit. The main purpose of primary packaging is to contain, protect and/or preserve the finished product, particularly against contamination.

There are various examples of primary packaging and there can sometimes be several components for one product. For example for beer, the bottle containing the liquid and the label are both classed as primary packaging. 

Corrugated primary packaging is often used for gift and luxury products such as in the tech and cosmetic industry.

EXAMPLE: For beer the primary packaging could be a can or bottle.

  • Primary and secondary packaging sometimes overlap.

Secondary Packaging

Secondary packaging’s main purpose is for branding display and logistical purposes. As well as protecting and collating individual units during storage and are often used by the beverage, food and cosmetic sectors for displaying primary packs on shelves and are sometimes also referred to as grouped or display packaging. 

Secondary packaging also includes packaging purposely made to display multiple product units for sale which speeds restocking from storeroom to shelf, this packaging includes retail-ready packaging (RRP), shelf-ready packaging (SRP) or counter-top display units (CDUs).

Secondary packaging is predominantly cardboard packaging print finished to a high standard, such as being litho printed with well thought out branding and design, due to the integral part it has to play.

EXAMPLE: Secondary packaging for drinks manufacturers could include gift packaging.

  • Secondary packaging can overlap with tertiary packaging as well.

Tertiary Packaging

Tertiary packaging facilitates the protection, handling and transportation of a series of sales units or secondary packaging in order to group everything into unit loads during transit. 

This type of packaging is rarely seen by the consumer.