In a study conducted by Packaging InSight ( on behalf of Pregis LLC (, product protection was ranked as the most important packaging characteristic by 80% of respondents, compared to sustainability and ease of product removal.

For this particular study, participants were fitted with a camera/head gear apparatus that measured 40-plus facial movements as the participants interacted with a corrugated box containing varied products. Each box used one of the following packaging materials to protect the contents: loose-fill “peanuts,” paper, square-pattern bubble cushioning and air pillows.

Participants were asked to select how they felt during opening, removing the material/products and discarding the packaging. The data was then compared to the emotional response they displayed during each interaction point.

Loose-fill peanuts caused the greatest amount of frustration, with approximately 18% showing irritation with the material type. On the other end of the spectrum, there was 0% frustration experienced with square-pattern bubble cushioning. Air pillows were on the low scale at 5.25% as was paper at 3.7%.

Attempting to ease the frustration of protective packaging on at least larger, heavier objects is DuraFibre’s ( new customizable Dura-Wrap crates for heavy or fragile products. Multi-panel protective packaging units are constructed of laminated paperboard, a lower cost alternative to wood crating. Dura-Wrap crates are easy and safe to set-up, load and unload and help save space and reduce costs by shipping and storing flat. Compared to wooden crates, Dura-crates take only a fraction of the time to assemble.

The crates offer multiple end-closure options: wood or paperboard end plugs or integrated flaps. They are also exempt from import/export rules under ISPM-15. Common applications for this protective crate include rollers, shafts and extrusions, machinery components, fragile instruments and high-value items.

Foam apple trays from Dolco Packaging (, a Tekni-Plex company, have been engineered to improve protection of the fruit in transit, minimizing scuffing and bruising, as well as reduce pack times.

Dolco has designed the polystyrene foam trays to go directly from the shipping case to display, without the fruit having to be removed and restacked. The tray structure provides enough rigidity so that the loaded trays do not collapse inside the carton. Because the apples are displayed against a black foam background, they stand out visually, helping to draw consumer attention to retail displays.

The trays feature a smooth inner/outer surface, meaning the fruit is cradled comfortably, which helps improve yield. The trays do not require a polyethylene foam pad in between layers to protect against abrasion; they can be stacked with the fruit in direct contact with the bottom of the foam tray on top of it. This is said to improve efficiency for packing houses via reduced labor, material and inventory cost savings.

“The growers we work with spend a significant amount of effort producing attractive apples. Therefore, we wanted to create an apple tray that wouldn’t compromise the fruit’s appearance during the last part of the journey to retail,” says Randy Stefanchik, national sales director, Dolco.

The patented design features built-in channels and drainage holes to allow moisture run-off in hot/humid climates. Four tray types (standard apple tray, cell pack, Euro cell pack and Euro tray) in multiple sizes are available. Dolco also produces foam pear trays, with five tray types.

E-commerce is expected to grow 17% annually through 2018. The mailed package has become one of the few opportunities that online companies have to connect with their customers and establish their brand. Additionally, customers who purchase online love the convenience, but are increasingly taking note of wasteful packaging practices.

Addressing both of these trends is Denver eco-packaging startup EcoEnclose ( Acquired by Kyle Wente and wife Saloni Doshi earlier this year, EcoEnclose provides earth-friendly shipping supplies, such as 100% recycled poly mailers, 100% recycled boxes and eco-friendly tape, and custom-printed and fabricated packaging options.

All of the recycled corrugated boxes are custom-cut to customer specification, so they both fit the customers’ products perfectly and display their products beautifully. Since acquiring the business, Doshi and Wente have begun working with customers on unique, creative box designs and print jobs for a variety of different uses.

“We plan to keep pushing the envelope on green, and bring our customers new and innovative eco-friendly products to set them apart.” say the couple.

A breakthrough in the pharmaceutical packaging market for product protection is CSP Technologies’ ( Pharmapuck™. This new active scavenging solution can be integrated directly into primary containers to protect oral solid dose (OSD) products from moisture and oxygen absorption, as well as counteract release of odors and scents. Suitable for nearly any typical OSD container, Pharmapuck scavenging devices can be integrated into bottle tops or dropped into containers to counteract the introduction of volatile organic compounds in packaging headspace – which can lead to displeasing odors or reduced efficacy or shelf-life.

The Pharmapuck provides pharmaceutical manufacturers a foolproof solution to protect their products and prevent misuse by consumers. Its molded-in desiccant eliminates risk of breakage or spillage associated with sachets and canisters. Pharmapuck scavenging devices also provide added design flexibility and branding options such as custom coloring, and laser or ink printing to enhance customer awareness and safety. Finally, Pharmapuck scavenging devices are available in ultra-low particulate formats for high-sensitivity drug applications.

Comparing the need for enhanced product protection with consumers’ want for a frustration-free experience, there are many protective packaging offerings from which to choose. These are only a few of the many on the market to protect your shipment, from product creation to packaging and all the way to the store aisle or consumer’s mailbox.