Tamper-evident packaging (TEP) provides many benefits to businesses in almost every industry. The most evident benefit TEP provides is security. If you are in the pharmaceutical industry, tamper-evident packaging as well as tamper-resistant packaging (TRP) are in almost every case a requirement. In other industrial it provides security throughout the product’s lifecycle including after purchase by a consumer. Understanding what, exactly, TEP is and how it can benefit your business as well as the differences between tamper-evident and tamper-resistant packaging are important to your product packaging.

Tamper-Evident Packaging

TEP is commonly mistaken for tamper-resistant packaging, but provides significantly different benefits. For one, in accordance with the FDA, TEP cannot be removed or re-applied without leaving obvious visible evidence. TRP does not have this requirement attached. Tamper-evident packaging also must has one or several barriers/indicators of entry that provide visible evidence to a consumer that a product has been compromised. Additionally, TEP materials must not be readily available to the public, making it less easy to duplicate. It also needs to include a description of the safety feature used on the packaging for easier understanding by the consumer, such as a clear “how to open” visual instruction.  

A simple example of tamper-evident packaging is a packet of pills. They would be contained in a clear or opaque blister package and sealed with foil. THE foil or the blister will contain info of the item contained as well as clear and simplified visual instructions on how to access the pills the package contains. If the product has been tampered with, the foil seal will be damaged, providing easily noticeable proof of tampering. The foil or other packaging material will also have a warning statement notifying the consumer to look out for this type of tampering and instruct not to use if the seal is broken. 

Types of Tamper-Evident Packaging

There are many types of TEP for your products and selecting the ideal materials will depend on what your product is and the regulations that apply to that product for your industry. When reviewing your options in TEP as with any other part of your package design, keep your target consumer in mind. Easy-open packaging has been noted in many study’s as a driver in consumer purchase decisions, so look for a supplier who can assist with designing and selecting materials for a secure and consumer-friendly package.

Foods packaged in glass jars can also benefit from the shrink seal mentioned above, along with a button-top security lid that makes an audible, recognizable 'pop' sound when opened for the first time. If there is no pop, the security feature has already been activated on the product’s package and should not be used or consumed.

A tamper-evident shrink band is an excellent option for products that have a lid or cap. An example of this application is found in securing ice-cream lids.  

Tamper-evident tapes are available to add security for all types of packaging; from boxes to envelopes, pallets, crates and bags. These TEP tapes will have wording on them that will offer clear evidence of tampering. Some tapes will leave wording on the package itself if removed for more obvious evidence.

Other options may include labeling that provides both security of TRP and proof of tampering that TEP provides. These could be in the form of an RFID embedded underneath the label stock. The ability to track and trace your products through the supply chain is already popular in many industries and has become more than simply a trend in the manufacturing and retail industry.

The ability to easily track your products with newer technologies in labeling and ink-coding not only protects your business, but also protects the consumer from contaminated products or counterfeit items. Utilize an automated labeling system for your packaging line to maximize productivity and protect your product all the way to the retailer and theirs.

It's important to discuss your options with your supplier for a full understanding of the best TEP options available to you. They can guide you in selecting and implementing cost-effective tamper-evident packaging.

What Is Tamper-Resistant Packaging?

Tamper-resistant packaging (TRP) is more self-explanatory; packaging that is designed to resist access to the product contained within the package. There are many ways to provide product security through TRP.

Shrink film provides an highly durable layer of tamper-resistance for almost any product—from foods, software, toys and board games to cosmetics and other consumer goods. By sealing the product completely in a high-clarity shrink film, you gain reliable product security from pre-shipment to shelf. Additionally, polyolefin shrink films offer an attractive gloss to your product while protecting it, making it shine on the shelf and direct-to-consumer transactions. 

Why Should I Use Tamper-Evident Packaging?

Your revenue is ultimately generated by the consumer, and keeping them safe is a priority for brand longevity. Your products are often handled many times over after being packaged, so being able to survive long journeys to placement in a retail setting or for delivery to the consumer without breaking any seals is imperative. Making it clear that a product is damaged or tampered with in the case that it didn’t survive is just as important.

TEP can protect your product from opening during shipment and help to reduce your damaged goods. Designing durable and appealing packaging is a no-brainer for your customer's safety as well. With the addition of tamper-evidence, you are showing a clear concern for the well-being of the buyer, and that can build consumer and brand loyalty.

Tamper-evidence is key in some sobering instances, like when someone with a plan to harm others is looking at your products as their next opportunity. Use tamper-evidence in your packaging to deter these tragedies from happening and to prevent lost revenue when your products are handled roughly in the retail environment, or on the way to it. Some consumers want to try-before-they-buy and will try to open the product in-store before purchase. TEP can prevent the item contained from compromised.