The first time that tamper-evident packaging became a national safety issue was after the Chicago Tylenol murders in 1982, when seven people died in an outbreak of potassium cyanide poisonings, and several more after copycat crimes took place.
At that time, the packaging industry was deluged with investor inquiries, and soon after, there was a boom in tamper-evident packaging. By the end of the 1980s, tamper-evident packaging on medicine, food, and other CPG products with potential safety issues was the new normal. But if we’ve become skilled at using tamper-evident packaging, why is interest in it growing once again? What’s changed?
Why Interest in Tamper-Evident Packaging Is Reviving
The rise of delivery and e-commerce are the two big factors behind the revival of interest in tamper-evident packaging. Today, you can get just about anything delivered, including fresh foods and medicines, and many of these products are ordered online. Meal kits, prepared foods, and traditional delivery foods all arrive on customer doorsteps every day, and people want to know that these products are fresh and safe.
To that end, newer versions of tamper-evident packaging are emerging, with features like new types of packaging material, and the development of sensors that can indicate the temperature of the products inside as well as seals that indicate sell-by dates.
Types of Tamper-Evident Packaging
Here are just a few of today’s options in tamper-evident packaging:
- Tamper-evident shrink bands, such as those used around ice cream lids
- Shrink seals around the tops of food in jars
- Button-top jar lids that pop when opened for the first time
- Tamper-evident tapes for boxes, envelopes, bags, etc.
- Shrink film
- Blister package foil seals
- Track and trace labels
Choosing the ideal type for the product depends on many factors, including industry regulations and consumer convenience.
Benefits and One Potential Drawback
The benefits of tamper-evident packaging are clear, and include the fact that they keep products from jostling open during transport, or during handling. They help prevent counterfeiting, and can help in identifying counterfeit products through the use of printed lot numbers. They also show that a brand is concerned that consumers receive their products intact, fresh, and indicative that the product inside has not been altered or interfered with.
The potential drawback, which all brands that use tamper-evident packaging must keep in mind, is when protective features make packaging feel impenetrable. The companies that use protective packaging to their best advantage are the ones that learn how to tread the fine line between safety and customer-friendliness. Believe it or not, “wrap rage” is a real phenomenon, and can, in fact, cause consumers to avoid certain products or brands if they believe the packaging will be too difficult to open.
Tamper-evident packaging is not only here to stay, it is being applied to more categories of products than ever before. When people receive packages from an e-commerce provider they will never physically visit, they want to be confident that the products they receive are fresh and have not been altered in any way.
Finding the tamper-evident solution that is the perfect balance of safety and convenience isn’t always easy, but it can pay off over the long term in terms of customer loyalty and goodwill. PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!