Collection: Clamshell Containers

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What is clamshell packaging?

Definition of clamshell packaging?

A Clamshell is a container shaped like a clam shell, with two movable jaws carried by a crane suspended from the boom by two lines. The packaging is often composed of translucent or semi-transparent plastic, letting shoppers see the goods without opening the package.

Types of clamshells

There are three common types of clamshell packaging used in various industries, including standard clamshell, trapped blister clamshell, and tri-fold clamshell.

  • Standard clamshell: This simple and frequently used design features two hinged parts that open and close like a clamshell, securely enclosing items such as electronics, hardware, cosmetics, and toys.
  • Trapped blister clamshell: This design combines a blister pack and a clamshell to securely retain small goods such as electronics accessories, toys, and hardware in a pre-formed plastic cavity.
  • Tri-fold clamshell: this kind of clamshell opens like an accordion, giving more surface area for showing products which include electronics, kitchen appliances, or bigger hardware. 

Common uses of clamshell packaging

Clamshell is utilized in a variety of industries, including food and heavy industries. The three most popular industries that use clamshells are

Food packaging

Clamshell packaging is frequently utilized in the food business, particularly for fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, and berries. The clamshell's transparent and sturdy plastic helps to protect the freshness of the food items while allowing customers to easily see the contents. This form of packaging is very popular in grocery shops and supermarkets since it improves the presentation of food products while also providing a simple way for customers to transport them.

Medical and pharmaceutical packaging

Clamshell packaging is commonly used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries to package products such as medical devices, first aid supplies, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and health supplements. Clamshell packaging's tamper-evident features maintain product integrity and safety, assuring buyers that the product has not been tampered with before purchase. Furthermore, the product's excellent visibility inside the packaging allows medical experts and customers to instantly identify the contents without opening the container.

Retail and consumer goods:

Clamshell packaging is widely used in retail and consumer goods across a variety of industries. It is often used in electronics for items such as headphones, earbuds, phone accessories, and small electrical devices. Clamshell packaging is used in the retail industry for toys, minor home items, stationery, hardware tools, and a variety of other products. The protective aspect of the packaging ensures that the products remain unharmed and attractive during shipping and on store shelves. The product's visibility inside the clamshell also helps to draw consumers' attention and affect their purchasing decisions.

Advantages and disadvantages of clamshell packaging


  • Product visibility: Clamshell packaging allows clients to see the product without opening the package. This improves product presentation and draws consumer attention to store shelves.
  • Product protection: The clamshell packaging's tough and resilient nature provides great protection to the enclosed product throughout shipping, handling, and storage. It aids in the prevention of damage, breaking, and contamination.
  • Customization: Clamshell packaging can be tailored to the precise form and size of the product, ensuring a secure fit and an appealing display


  • Environmental impact: Clamshell packaging is frequently composed of stiff plastic that is difficult to recycle and contributes to plastic waste. This has prompted worries about the long-term viability of clamshell packaging.
  • Limited Reusability: Clamshell packaging is not easily resealable once opened, therefore customers may require other storage solutions for the goods after purchase.
  • Cost: Clamshell packaging can be more expensive to manufacture and assemble than other packaging solutions, thereby impacting the final cost of the product.

    A closer look at clamshell for food packaging

    Common types of food packaging with clamshell

    • Fruits and vegetables: Clamshell packaging is popular for berries, and grapes, tomatoes, or herbs,... The packaging protects the fragile fruits from injury and allows clients to observe the berries' quality and maturity. 
    • Baby Greens and Salad Mixes: Clamshell packaging is popular for packaging baby greens and pre-packaged salad mixes. The packaging helps keep the greens fresh and allows consumers to see the inside.
    • Salad Dressings and Dips: Clamshells are commonly used to package small quantities of salad dressings, dips, and sauces for convenient and mess-free handling.
    • Bakery Items: Delicate pastries and tarts, for example, are packaged in clamshells to keep their shape and freshness.
    • Ready-to-Eat Meals: Clamshell packaging is used by some food firms for ready-to-eat meals or meal kits, allowing customers to see the contents and guaranteeing that the meals remain intact during delivery.
    • Clamshells can be used with hot and cold meals, wet or dry food, depending on the materials. 

    Common sizes of clamshell containers

    Clamshell container sizes differ based on the manufacturer and the product. Here are some of the most common sizes of clamshell food containers on the market

    Size (L x W x H)

    Capacity (oz)

    Suitable for

    4 x 4 x 2 inches

    2-4 oz

    Single pastries, cupcakes

    6 x 6 x 2 inches

    4-8 oz

    Single pastries, sandwiches, burgers

    6 x 9 x 2 inches

    8-12 oz

    Salads, desserts, pastries

    8 x 8 x 2 inches

    12-16 oz

    Sandwiches, burgers, full meals

    9 x 6 x 2 inches

    12-16 oz

    Salads, desserts, pastries

    9 x 9 x 2 inches

    16-24 oz

    Full meals, seafood

    10 x 10 x 2 inches

    24-32 oz

    Full meals, pizza

    12 x 12 x 2 inches

    32-48 oz

    Large pizzas, cakes

    16 x 16 x 2 inches

    48-64 oz

    Pizza, cakes, pies

    20 x 20 x 2 inches

    64-80 oz

    Large pizzas, cakes, pies

      Are clamshells right for your brand?

      Before choosing to use clamshell for your brand, please consider the following factors to make an appropriate decision:

      • Product Type and Size: Take into account the type and size of your product. Clamshell packaging is ideal for small to medium-sized items that benefit from product visibility. Clamshell packaging may be a good choice if your product is delicate, perishable, or requires protection during transit and on store shelves.
      • Product Presentation: Clamshell packaging provides good product visibility, allowing customers to inspect the product before making a purchase. Clamshell packaging can improve your product presentation if your brand emphasizes the product's design, features, or quality.
      • Brand Identity and Values: Consider how clamshell packaging fits with your company's brand identity and values. If your company is concerned with sustainability and environmental friendliness, you should think about alternatives to typical clamshell packaging, which is generally constructed of stiff plastics that are difficult to recycle. 
      • Regulatory standards: Make sure that the packaging of your product conforms with any applicable regulatory standards in your sector or location.

      Clamshell packaging recycling

      Eco-friendly clamshell packaging materials

      Currently, clamshell containers are created with a variety of environmentally friendly materials to reduce the impact of plastic clamshells. The following are some popular materials.

      • Paperboard: Paperboard is a recyclable and compostable material made from wood pulp. It is a wonderful choice for clamshell packaging since it is sturdy and durable, and it can be printed with high-quality images.
      • Bamboo fiber: This is a cellulose-based material. This product is biodegradable and compostable. The bamboo fiber clamshell can be used with a variety of dishes, including fruits, salads, and other prepared foods.
      • Sugarcane/Bagasse: Sugarcane is a cellulose-based material, similar to bamboo fiber. This is one of the most common and widely used materials. This material is 100% compostable and biodegradable. Moreover, sugarcane clamshell is strong and long-lasting, making it suited for a wide range of hot and cold foods. 

        In order to provide green packaging for food businesses, KimEcopak offers sugarcane clamshells as an alternative to plastic clamshells, which is going to be banned in Canada.  

        Challenges of clamshell packaging recycling

        Recycling clamshell packaging presents several challenges due to its material composition, size, and consumer behavior.

        • Material Composition: Clamshell packaging is frequently comprised of various materials, such as a mix of plastics, which can make recycling more difficult and expensive. 
        • Size and Shape: The huge and irregular shape of some clamshell packaging can offer storage, transportation, and processing issues for recycling facilities. 
        • Contamination: Clamshell packaging is easily contaminated with food remains or other contaminants, which can stymie recycling efforts and lower the value of recycled materials. 
        • Inadequate Infrastructure: In many areas, recycling facilities may not be able to handle clamshell packaging, resulting in limited recycling options.
        • Consumer Behavior: A lack of consumer understanding and confusion about the recyclability of clamshell packaging can lead to incorrect disposal and lower recycling rates.
        sugarcane clamshell

        Initiatives and Solutions for clamshell packaging

        • Design for Recycling: Encourage manufacturers to create clamshell packaging that is recyclable. Recycling can be facilitated by using a single type of plastic or easily separable components.
        • Material Innovation: Invest in R&D to develop new, more recyclable clamshell packaging materials, such as biodegradable or compostable plastics.
        • Collection Programs: In partnership with local municipalities and waste management firms, establish or support recycling collection programs that explicitly target clamshell packaging.
        • Less Packaging: Encourage brands to reduce wasted packaging and investigate alternative, more sustainable packaging choices.

        What are the advantages of buying wholesale clamshells from KimEcopak?

        KimEcopak is one of Canada's leading wholesalers of green packaging products for restaurants and food businesses in Canada. Purchasing clamshell and being our partner has numerous benefits for your business. Here are some noteworthy advantages:
        • Fixed price in 6 months: KimEcopak maintains consistent prices for customers for 6 months. You don't have to be concerned about the inflation or inventories budget over-spending.
        • Save from 5% to 7%: There is no need for a code; you can save up to 7% on your next orders.
        • Schedule delivery: This option helps you save time by eliminating repetitive ordering steps.
        • Free storage: Make more room in your store. At the same time, don't be concerned about storage conditions.

          Finally, one of the most common types of packaging is clamshell packaging. Before deciding on clamshell packaging, firms should consider a variety of factors such as its advantages, disadvantages, and environmental impact. There are several alternatives to clamshell plastic packaging, and striking a balance between usefulness, consumer appeal, and environmental responsibility will propel clamshell packaging into a greener, more sustainable future.