Primary, Secondary & Tertiary

The Facts on… The Three Types of Packaging

We frequently ask consumers:  What packaging do you use?

The typical response: We do not use packaging; we only distribute pre-packaged products.

Packaging is often mistakenly viewed as ‘the box my product arrived in’.

It is, in fact, a multifaceted industry that deals with a range of packaging needs. Moreover, many are unaware that there are three different tiers of packaging. In this blog post I am going to explain that packaging is utilised in all areas of business, in ways you may not have realised.

There are three main types of packaging:


Primary packaging are the materials that come into direct contact with your product.  For example, if you work in the pharmaceutical trade this would be the blister pack that tablets come in. This form of packaging is essential in providing that initial product protection. It is also instrumental in informing the consumer what the product is alongside its features and usage.


The main uses of  secondary packaging is for protecting a product, allowing multiple products to be bundled together and for marketing. Although it is also important that the primary packaging is protective this is more in relation to it being airtight and water repellent.

Continuing the analogy of the blister pack, the secondary packaging would be the box that holds these blister packs. The pack needs to be as visually appealing as possible to grab the attention of the consumer. It also needs to give the majority of product information. The branding and quality of packaging at this stage is also important. Eye-catching and high quality packaging will


Finally, we have Tertiary packaging. This stage of packaging is often overlooked by companies who claim they do not deal with packaging products.

For example; a logistics company that distributes the packs of tablets to different pharmacies and stores. Whilst they may not supply any packaging for the product, they will need to use strapping or shrink wrap to securely transport a package.

Although tertiary packaging is not typically seen by the end user it is an integral part of the packaging process. Without the safe transportation of products all the detail and investment of the eye-catching secondary packaging would go to waste. As such, some may argue that this packaging stage is the most important.

To find out more about packaging visit our blog page.

With a full understanding of the three levels of packaging, you can now identify the materials needed for each stage. Contact Southgate® for a wide range of packaging materials, call 01553 69 29 69 or email

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