Foam packaging inserts: benefits and characteristics

Protecting goods during transport is a key factor for many businesses which can have an effect both on their logistic processes and their reputation and brand image. At the same time, as e-commerce grows, providing an attractive packaging and unboxing experience has become increasingly important. Foam packaging inserts stand out as an efficient packaging solution that both enhances aesthetics in packaging solutions while guaranteeing the protection of transported goods. 

Thus, using the right type of packaging inserts can have a significant impact on a company’s transportation and logistic cost-efficiency, while also helping them create unique customer experiences and build client loyalty. Keep reading to find out what exactly are foam packaging inserts and what are the benefits of introducing them into a packaging solution.

What are foam packaging inserts?

Foam packaging inserts are additional foam materials located inside packaging solutions with two purposes: providing extra protection for transported goods and generating a more aesthetic and impressive unboxing experience. 

On the one hand, foam packaging inserts play a key role in protecting goods against transportation hazards produced by rough handling and accidents, including drops, vibrations, shocks, and scratches.

At the same time, packaging inserts made of foam are widely used across different industries because of their ability to provide enhanced protection without increasing the weight of packaging, as this material is extremely lightweight. 

Additionally, certain foam inserts are easily cut into different shapes, thus offering the possibility of adding custom designs that adjust to each product’s specific protection needs, including products with irregular shapes.  

There are a number of goods that benefit from using foam packaging inserts: from fragile and/ or sensitive items (electronic devices and gadgets, automotive parts, delicate pharmaceutical products, fine china, glass…) to luxury products (jewelry or high-end cosmetics), diverse companies look into the possibility of including packaging inserts to upgrade their packaging solutions.

The use of certain eco-friendly foams (which present a low carbon footprint on their production) and looking at a product’s sustainability from a full life cycle perspective, foam packaging inserts represent an option to help companies minimize their environmental impact. 

Recent developments have also meant foam packaging inserts can present various densities, colors and textures, thus providing increasing customization possibilities for companies to continue building their branding through their packaging.

You might also be interested in: Foam packaging circular economy model

Types of foam packaging inserts used in the industry

Expanded foam sheets 

Expanded foam sheets take the shape of laminated sheets that are typically inserted into primary packaging solutions. They can be customized according to each product’s needs (including the possibility of various densities).

Their main goal is to be able to fit several different items into a single packaging solution (for instance, a box), without them moving around and, as a consequence, damaging each other. 

At the same time, expanded foam sheets present a stylish solution for dividing multiple objects into a single box.

Foam packaging inserts for corners and edges

Foam packaging inserts can be included in a box in order to protect a product’s corners or edges against transport hazards such as shocks or drops

Through this solution, which can also be customized in order to perfectly adjust to a product’s needs, companies remain certain their goods are cushioned from all angles during transportation and handling processes, increasing their safety. Today 95% of kitchen households are being protected by EPS expanded foam.

Why use foam packaging inserts in your products? 

Foam packaging inserts remain a popular solution for product protection and enhanced customer experience, which we explain below.

However, and compared to other packaging insert options such as those made of cardboard, these two functions are enhanced by the additional benefits of using foam in particular: 

  • Plastic foam represents an extremely lightweight material, which means it doesn’t add weight to packaging solutions, thus not driving up shipping costs. This also translates into increased environmental benefits, as carbon footprints from transportation are also minimized by choosing foam inserts. 
  • Foam is easily cut into different shapes, even following a product’s exact forms just like a mold. This provides extra protection guarantees, with no exceptional economic investments, while also offering an extra airtightness that can benefit product protection. 

Additional protection for your products 

Foam packaging inserts are the right solution to protect products from common transport hazards, including impacts, vibrations and scratches: this solution is in charge of absorbing these shocks so that the product remains intact and safely reaches the final client. 

But that’s not all: foam inserts can be made from materials such as EPS, which present outstanding thermal insulation, are resistant to humidity and other issues such as the growth of mold or bacteria. 

As a consequence of this enhanced protection, companies enjoy a number of logistic improvements, as safe delivery of products helps reduce costs and avoid costly processes such as damaged product returns. 

Improve your customer experience and build client loyalty

There are two characteristics of foam packaging inserts that make them an added asset for an improved customer experience.

First, they guarantee products arrive in perfect condition to the final clients, guaranteeing a company’s brand image remains positive. In the medium and long term, this means clients think of a company as reliable and trustworthy.

Secondly, foam packaging inserts can be designed to provide an attractive presentation for an extraordinary unboxing experience that maximizes clients’ expectations while protecting the product to ensure their satisfaction.

All in all, these two advantages add up to greatly improve the chances of a client buying again from the same company and becoming a loyal client. 

Can we find sustainable foam packaging inserts?

Sustainable foam packaging inserts are possible by applying eco-design parameters in packaging and reducing the number of pieces required and using less material.

There are at least two ways in which picking the right type of foam packaging inserts can help a company improve its sustainability:

  • They can be made using innovative, sustainable materials, which include those with a low carbon footprint (such as EPS), materials made from non-petro sources and recycled materials.
  • Foam packaging inserts can also generate tailor-made packaging solutions, which guarantee only the right amount of materials are used, and thus reduce packaging waste. 

Want to learn more about foam packaging inserts? At Knauf Appliances, we are specialists in thermoplastic injection technology applied to protective packaging solutions for various industries: we can help you with designing a safe packaging system including packaging inserts.

Download our free technical manual and find out more about what types of sustainable, protective packaging inserts can make a difference in your packaging solutions. 

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