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Breaking Down the Complexities of Tray Lidding : Key Advantages and Components

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It might be time to flip your lid. But there’s no need to get frustrated at a possible packaging change. While finding the right lidding film can be complex (Hint: It involves more than having the correct tray dimensions.), it’s a fascinating process that can set your product and brand up for success. Lidding film can simultaneously serve multiple functions such as image display, barrier properties, and recloseability.

Lidding’s claim to fame, however, is its tamper evident properties. A series of deaths related to drug tampering in 1982 led to increased federal anti-tampering laws. Lidding emerged as a capable packaging solution to show shoppers that someone or something had meddled with packaging before purchasing. So, lidding isn’t a final-step checkoff right before production. It’s an integral part of your packaging that should be considered early in development and boasts numerous benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages specifically related to tray lidding.

Advantages of Tray Lidding

  • Protection. As stated before, lidding can provide tamper evident properties and alert the consumer to potential interference with your product. This signal of tampering can prevent customers from purchasing products that could at the most harm them and at the least leave them dissatisfied. Tray lidding also provides a layer of protection between your product and the outside elements. Think about it. Cherry tomatoes in a tray with a lid are more likely to arrive at the consumer’s home without bruising than a bundle of loose cherry tomatoes that has been excessively handled.
  • Shelf Life. Tray lidding can help decrease food waste by prolonging the shelf life of your product. An extended product shelf life benefits the environment and satisfies your consumer. Lidding technology, chosen appropriately, helps to control the proper amount of gas exchange between the elements inside the packaging and the outside elements. Your product and packaging chemistry will guide the type of lidding technology needed.
  • Brand Awareness. The front-and-center, prime space on tray lidding can be used to display relevant brand information such as a logo, company name, or key differentiators between your product and competitor products. You don’t have to overcrowd with printing, however. Some consumers like the transparency that lidding provides. Leaving tray lidding partially blank allows consumers to see your product while also giving you some branding space to boost name recognition.


Key Elements of Tray Lidding

Trays can be made from a variety of materials. Options for plastic materials include APET, CPET, PP, and PE. These materials offer a variety of functions such as transparency so consumers can see your product and microwavable packaging so consumers can conveniently warm your product. Sonoco Flexibles also offers trays made from natural fibers.

Films seal to many different types of substrates and can be made from laminates containing foil, PP, PE, PET, or even mono-layer structures with a heat seal coating. Lidding film technology offers features such as barrier properties, anti-fog, resealability, and much more.

Machines used in the process are either semi-automatic or automatic.  These machines primarily differ in the loading of the trays before the sealing process. The trays can either be loaded manually or automatically. The process of sealing tray film differs depending on whether or not your film is printed or transparent. Once tray film is sealed to the package, the machine cuts the film as needed.

These three elements – trays, films, and machines – are key as you think through the proper packaging for your brand. This blog provides a snapshot of these elements, but there are more nuances worth considering when dealing with a specific product and brand.

Connect with Sonoco Flexibles

Sonoco Flexibles is well-equipped to meet your tray lidding needs. We currently serve a variety of markets including dairy, produce, deli, frozen foods, snacks, confection, condiments and dips, and infant and toddler food packaging. Sonoco specializes in rollstock lidding for various end-use applications, specially formulated to meet varying barrier levels, filling methods, product and print requirements. We have films that can seal through contamination, as well as withstand different processing methods, including HPP.

Learn more about our lidding capabilities on our Flexible Lidding page or reach out to us at