High-quality, convenient, and robust packaging solutions put your product in the best possible light for consumers and retailers. However, the right packaging can do much more than that. Today's manufacturers can package goods for sale in more versatile single-serve packaging options that meet the needs of busy consumers. Individual servings of yogurt, drinks, vegetables, snacks, and other food or beverage goods are more popular than ever.
At Elis Packaging, we specialize in designing and developing food-grade, single-serve packaging styles that keep consumable goods safe while offering portability and convenience. Learn more about what single-serve packaging is, how it differs from bulk packaging, and the benefits single-serve packaging offers.
What Is Single-Serve Packaging?
Single-serve packaging is a popular style of packaging for individual units of goods, especially in the food and beverage sector. Consumers increasingly prefer the convenience and pre-determined sizing of single-serve packaging options, which allow them to take a ready-to-eat serving on the go instead of having to portion it out themselves.
Some examples of goods that traditionally reach consumers in individual, single-serve packages include:
- Bottles or cans of soda
- Soup cans
- Snack-sized bags of chips, crackers, or candy
- Small packages of condiments like ketchup and mustard
Compare this to other types of goods, like containers of deli meat, bottles of condiments, and two-liter bottles of soda. While larger packages may offer greater storage efficiency and cost savings, consumers enjoy single-serve packaging for goods that they may enjoy on the go or at work. Single-serve packages are also popular because they can be part of consistent dieting strategies and have a fixed serving size.
Most single-serve packaging types hold shelf-stable goods that are divided into a popular portion or serving size. The wrapper seals the container and the contents against environmental contaminants and spoiling. Once the container is opened, it is not resealable, and the packaging is typically constructed from plastic materials, aluminum, or tin for easy disposal or recycling. Single-serve packages are also seeing a rapid jump in popularity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; work breakrooms, school and business cafeterias, and airports can more safely serve individually sealed portions of food without worrying about spreading bacteria, germs, or viruses in communal spaces.
Today's manufacturers can design and manufacture single-serve packaging in a wide variety of styles to best hold different types of consumable goods for added storage convenience, easier eating or drinking, or enhanced style and shelf appeal.
Single-Serve Packaging vs. Bulk Packaging
There are two broad categories for food and beverage packaging: single-serve styles and bulk styles. Single-serve containers hold a single nutritional serving of the product. Bulk packaging, on the other hand, holds multiple servings. The product is meant to be consumed more gradually or apportioned into separate servings by the consumer. Bulk packaging can include packages that hold a large volume of a product with no individual portions within the packaging or a package that holds individually wrapped servings inside of it (such as goods purchased at a big box store or discount club).
For example, sodas can be stored and sold in a variety of different packaging options. Single-serve options include cans or bottles, while bulk packaging options include one-liter or two-liter bottles; with bulk package options, the consumer might serve themselves smaller glasses of the drink at home over a period of several days or serve multiple different people a drink. There are even bulk packages of single-serve containers packaged together as a single product for purchase.
Some bulk packaging has a single opening, requiring the consumer to reseal and potentially refrigerate the remaining contents to prevent spoilage. Other bulk packaging that contains smaller single-serve packages within the container might be stored more conveniently in a breakroom or pantry. Manufacturers benefit from providing their consumable goods in a variety of single-serve and bulk packaging options to meet the varied needs of their target markets in different contexts.
Types of Single-Serve Packaging Available
To meet the demands of modern-day consumers, Elis Packaging offers a diverse range of single-serving packaging styles that are ideal for different product types, consumers, and environments. Some of the most popular types of single-serve packaging include:
- Stick Packs: These individual serving packages are cost-effective, compact, and convenient. They are easy-to-open containers of a single serving size of food constructed from a tube of packaging that is sealed tight at the top and bottom and often has a slight perforated tear that consumers can rip along to access the contents. Stick packs can hold liquids, gels, powders, and more. The individual packets can be stored very compactly for efficient shipping and storage.
- Flat Sachets: Unlike stick packs, which are cylinders with sealing top and bottom edges, these sachets are squares and rectangles that are sealed along all four sides. The material is thinner than stick packets and can be bent or flexed more easily. Because flat sachets are conceptually very simple, manufacturers can produce them in a wide range of materials, sizes, shapes, and patterns. Their surfaces can also be fully customized with printed branding, ingredient and nutritional information, and directions for use.
- Pouches: These flexible packages can hold powders and liquid contents. They often include straws, spoons, or spouts to allow for easy consumption of the contents without additional tools.
- Secondary or 'Full Line' Packaging: This packaging includes bags, boxes, and cartons for storing individually portioned packages of goods.
Advantages of Single-Serve Packaging
Single-serve packaging is extremely popular and comes with a host of benefits that appeal to consumers and retailers. Some of the advantages that single-serve packaging offers are:
- Convenience: Single-serving goods are more portable and easy to sell or consume. Purchasers can easily keep a product in their purse or bag, consume it at any time, and then dispose of the packaging.
- Less Food Waste: Many consumers simply need less of a product. Single-serving containers have smaller amounts of the product that may fulfill the buyer's needs. Also, opening a larger, bulk-size container starts the clock on expiration, leading to more food waste. With individual sizes, each container is shelf-stable or refrigerable for longer, allowing buyers to consume the product at a slower pace without worrying about spoilage.
- Consumer Education: Individual packages help inform consumers about nutritional information, instructions, and calories. They can more easily track macronutrients, calories, and micronutrients throughout the day.
- Reaching More Markets: By selling their goods in both bulk and single-serve packages, companies can reach a wider array of consumers with different needs.
Common Use Cases for Single-Serve Packaging
Retailers, restaurants, and end consumers all use single-serve packaging. Some of the most common uses include:
- Single-serve condiments and spices at restaurants
- Single-serve menu items in cafeterias
- Convenience food items at grocery stores, such as drinks, packaged snacks, and sandwiches
- Bulk packages of single-serving goods, such as desserts, yogurt cups, drinks, and snack packs
Getting Started With Single-Serve Packaging — Elis Packaging
There is a big market for single servings of food and drinks across the country. Consumers and retailers prefer this packaging because of the convenience, portability, and cost-effectiveness it offers. At Elis Packaging, we specialize in high-quality single-serve packaging solutions for organizations across the food and beverage industry. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you diversify your product lines and reach more markets with single-serving options.