What Is Tamper Evident Packaging?

Tamper evident food packaging is designed with special closures that make it apparent if the container has been opened, unsealed, or broken. If you’re selling packaged items, broken closures alert you to potential product tampering so you can dispose of the item. Most importantly, it assures the customer that the items they purchase are fresh, safe, and haven’t been handled by anyone after being packaged.

Tamper evident packaging is so common in the food and beverage industry that you probably take it for granted. You’ll find that most bottled beverages feature a twist cap, and you intuitively know that if the cap has been twisted off, the beverage has been opened. But what about tamper proof packaging for takeout food orders? Tamper evident packaging for restaurants is rising in popularity because of the increasing demand for no-contact takeout and delivery services and a growing concern for food safety.

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Types of Tamper Evident Packaging

Package with tamper evident sticker

There are different types of tamper evident food containers for restaurants on the market. When choosing the products that are right for your business, consider whether you need packaging for just takeout food orders or also for prepared foods in your grab-and-go station. Check out some of the most popular tamper evident products below:

Tamper Evidence Labels

Tamper evident labels can be used on any takeout container, making it easy to pair them with the packaging you already have in stock. Once a label is placed over a package, it can’t be unsealed without leaving visible evidence of tampering.

Use the following video to learn more about tamper evidence labels:

Tamper Evident Takeout Containers

Containers with tamper evident seals are common in convenience stores and fast casual restaurants. Prepared foods like sandwiches and salads are placed inside the container and the lid is tightly sealed. The lid cannot be removed without tearing the seal and indicating the container was opened. Additionally, some tamper evident containers come with built-in tampering protection. When opening these tamper evident products, the hinge will tear, providing a visual indication that the container has been previously opened and possibly tampered with.

Tamper Evident Delivery Bags

Ideal for no-contact delivery and takeout, these tamper evident bags protect food containers as well as other items like condiments, napkins, and plastic cutlery. Once all the takeout items are placed inside the bag, it’s closed with a tamper evident bag seal. The seal’s adhesive folds over the top of the bag, completely closing it. With tamper evident sealing, the bag cannot be opened while in transit and all items will arrive safely at their destination.

Tamper Evident Tape

Tamper evident tape is designed to provide extra protection and security when transporting large products. When shipping items like cartons, crates, and large boxes, tamper evident tape keeps your items sealed and prevents them from being prematurely opened. Once the tape is removed, some indication will be left behind alerting the recipient that the item has been opened. Typically the indicator takes the form of a hard-to-remove residue that states “OPENED”, providing a clear visual indicator that the item has been previously accessed.

What Is Tampering?

Food tampering is defined as the intentional altering or contamination of a food product or package. Tampering with food sometimes occurs with the intent to steal, perform a prank, or just cause damage. Food tampering has the potential to be dangerous for both your customers and your business, and can sometimes lead to serious ailments. Using tamper evident packaging is the best way to prevent food tampering and protect your products, your customers, and your business.

Benefits of Tamper Evident Food Packaging

Salad in tamper evident plastic packaging

Tamper evident food containers provide several benefits to restaurants. Whether you’re preparing menu items for takeout orders or packaging prepared foods for a grab-and-go station, tamper-resistant containers are a step up from traditional packaging. Consider these benefits when deciding if tamper evident containers are right for you:

1. Builds Consumer Confidence

Using tamper evident to-go containers provides an extra level of confidence to your customers because they know their food order was not touched after being placed in the container. With the tamper evident seal or label intact, the customer is assured they are the first to open the container. This sends a message to your guests that you care about their safety, which in turn helps to build consumer loyalty for your business.

2. Prevents Tampering and Theft

The most obvious benefit of tamper evident packaging is that it prevents your products from being opened before purchase. This is especially helpful for micro markets or fast casual restaurants with grab-and-go stations. You can confidently place prepared foods like salads, sandwiches, and fruit out in the open for customers to purchase without the fear of tampering.

3. Promotes Food Safety

Tamper evident containers help to promote food safety by preventing airborne contaminants from reaching your prepared foods. Many of these containers feature airtight seals that help to prolong the life of the item and prevent spoilage. Traditional to-go containers can open accidentally, either in delivery transit or from being jostled on the shelf. With tamper evident containers, you know that the foods will not become exposed and are safe from contamination.

4. No Spillage

Delivery drivers know that keeping foods from spilling during transit is one of their main goals. Some items, like beverages and soups, require special attention to make sure they reach their destination intact. With tamper evident packaging, the strong seal can prevent spills and damage during bumpy car rides.

What’s the Difference between Tamper Evident and Tamper Resistant?

Food package with tamper evident sticker

In the world of tamperproofing, there are a couple types of packaging that get mixed up. Tamper evident, tamper resistant, and tamper proof have different meanings, but you'll find these terms are often used interchangeably. Learn the differences between these labels so you can find the right packaging:

What Does Tamper Evident Mean?

Tamper evident packaging provides visual evidence that the item has been previously opened. When looking at tamper evident packaging, it is obvious whether the item has been opened already. The visual indicators of tamper evident packaging help customers to avoid products that have already been opened and protect them from the potential dangers of food tampering.

What Is Tamper Resistant?

Tamper resistant packaging is designed to be difficult to open. Although the difficulty of opening may deter tampering from occurring, there is no visual indicator that the package has been tampered with. As a result, tamper resistant packaging could be opened and reclosed, making it look like the product was never opened. Tamper evident packaging is usually preferred over tamper resistant items to provide customers with the ability to see if their product has been previously opened. However, combining the two types and pairing tamper resistant packaging with tamper evidence labels can be a great way to maximize your product’s protection.

Tamper Proof Sealing vs. Tamper Evident Sealing

Tamper proof is a general term that is sometimes used to describe tamper evident packaging. However, you need to be careful when using terms like tamper proof sealing because no container or packaging is going to be completely tamper proof. There’s no way to completely guarantee that a product is completely protected from tampering, so look towards tamper evident sealing to alert customers to potential food tampering.

Tamper evident packaging is common throughout the retail industry but restaurant operators can also benefit from using containers that discourage tampering. Today's consumers order takeout and delivery regularly, and using tamper evident packaging provides them with the assurance that their food is safe from contamination.

Posted in: Foodservice Trends|By Michale LeRoy
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