Different Types of Clamshell Packaging

Different Types of Clamshell Packaging

After searching through various packaging supplies, you eventually came across carded packaging. While lightly perusing this topic, you found clamshells—the perfect containers for your packaging needs. You know that you want to use clamshells for your products, but you are unsure which type of clamshell you wish to use. You are familiar with a couple of different types of these containers, but you are unsure which type makes the most sense for your business. We will help you select the best clamshell packaging for your products. As a multi-generational packaging company, we have been working with clamshell packaging for more years than we can count! This article will introduce you to the most popular clamshells currently available today. With the information in this article, you will be able to choose the proper clamshell packaging for your product packaging requirements!

What Are The Different Types Of Clamshell Packaging?

There's a sea of clamshells available, ranging from biodegradable options to typical plastic clamshells. While there is a wide range of clamshells available, some are popular with customers. We'll look at some of the most prevalent types of clamshells found in the wild today. 

Thermoform Clamshell Packaging

Clamshell packaging made of thermoform protects and markets your items. Thermoforming allows you to expertly construct a perfect custom clamshell that fits your things perfectly. Since 1961, these clamshells have been on the market. Compared to those made in the 1960s, thermoformed clamshells have much-improved branding and protective capabilities because of modern technology. CAD/CAM design and 3D printing develop and manufacture thermoform clamshells. Thanks to in-house tooling, these clamshells can be custom-made with fast delivery and ultra-high quality. There are three types of thermoform clamshells: two-piece, fold-over, and tri-fold freestanding variants. PVC, RPET, and PETG plastic are among the materials used to make these clamshells. Clamshells made of thermoform provide excellent package protection and product visibility. For light to heavy items, they give improved stability. Multiple shaped chambers can be added to custom thermoform clamshells. They can also be fashioned into unusual or intricate shapes, die cuts, and decorations. Beautiful G7 printed insert cards with high-quality images adorn Thermoform clamshells, catching consumers' attention. They can be sealed for theft protection as a type of protective packaging. Tamper-resistant thermoform clamshells are also available. These clamshells can be found in hardware stores, supermarkets, petrol stations, and other consumer goods outlets.

Plastic Clamshell Packaging

Plastic clamshells are one of the most common and well-known types of clamshell packaging. These have been around for decades and are still in high demand among food makers and retailers. Plastic clamshells, which usually consist of two interlocking "shells" composed of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), are commonplace anywhere food is sold. Many sorts of food are packaged in plastic clamshells, including sandwiches, salads, desserts, seafood, chicken wings, and various other foods. Plastic clamshells are available at supermarkets, food marts, country stores, gas stations, food trucks, catering companies, in-store salad bars, and other food sellers. Plastic clamshells are 100% recyclable because they are constructed of PET plastic. However, all food particles and pollutants must be removed before they may be adequately recycled. Before being placed in a single-stream recycling bin or transported to a local recycling centre, the containers should be washed and thoroughly dried.

Paperboard Clamshell Packaging

Paperboard clamshells are coming next. Over the last decade or two, these have become increasingly popular. Frequently utilised for hot food applications, they are swiftly gaining ground on plastic clamshells and have become a customer favourite in various industry areas. Like their plastic counterparts, paperboard clamshells have two shells joined on one side and interlocking tabs on the other. They're built from recyclable materials and are a significant hit with environmentally concerned customers. They aren't precisely "green," though. Clamshell packaging made from recycled paperboard is even more common.

These containers cannot be recycled once they have been soiled by grease, sauce, or other impurities. While some wax coatings on paperboard clamshells may help prevent oil, sauce, and other food stains, this is not always the case.

Food trucks, restaurants, BBQ joints, diners, caterers, serve-yourself hot food bars, and other forms of food vendors all use paperboard clamshells.

Plant Fiber Clamshell Packaging

These unusual clamshells are often manufactured from wheat grain and chaff and are ideal for hot and cold food packaging. Unlike other bio-based clamshell goods, these containers are soak-proof and resistant to water and liquids. These carded packing supplies, like other clamshells, have two shells that are joined on one side and have interlocking clasps on the other. Plant fibre clamshells resemble their paperboard counterparts in appearance and can be used for many of the same purposes. These plant-based packaging supplies can be found in various locations, including restaurants, supermarkets, food trucks, and more. Many plant fibre-based clamshells meet the ASTM D-6400 compostability standard, which means they can only be composted in an industrial composting facility.

Sugarcane Clamshell Packaging

We have a new type of biodegradable clamshell packaging at number four. These clamshells are similar in colour and look to styrofoam clamshells, yet they are significantly more environmentally friendly. These plant-based containers are made entirely of bagasse (the plant waste from sugar cane manufacturing). These guys are typically used for hot food packaging applications similar to paperboard clamshells. However, it should be noted that most biodegradable packing materials will need to be composted at home or collected up by an industrial composting site to biodegrade correctly. These containers cannot be recycled since they are formed of plant materials, and if they end up in a landfill, they will not biodegrade properly.

Styrofoam Clamshell Packaging

These styrofoam containers are one of the most common types of clamshell packaging on the market, and they're utilised for a variety of hot and cold food applications. These containers have two shells joined on one side, and a tab on the top shell holds the container closed when clipped into the hole on the bottom shell, similar to other clamshells. These clamshells were once the leader of the pack, owing to the fact that they were some of the only ones accessible. While they are still widely used, they are gradually losing favour with consumers due to the significant environmental issues that styrofoam causes. These containers can be found at restaurants, supermarkets, caterers, and other food sellers.


These packages can also be transparent, allowing people to easily view the item inside. Extremely versatile, clamshell solutions can even be reused if unsealed, reducing the environmental footprint. Various methods, like self-locking and friction fitting, may also be employed depending on the specific requirements at hand. Given that such packaging can be molded to fit almost any object, clamshell packaging has a wide array of applications.