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Packaging essentials for meal subscription services

The popularity of meal subscription services is on the rise. There are now hundreds available in the UK. Market leaders like Gousto and Hello Fresh are being challenged by new entrants all the time.

By 2022, it’s estimated that the subscription market will be worth £1bn per year – an astounding growth from £583m in 2017. Specialists diets like veganism becoming more popular are now being catered for. Plus, there’re even meal subscription boxes for your furry best friend too, with pet food now getting a look in!

So, if you’re trading in this growing market place, what are the packaging essentials you should consider?

  1. Food safe primary packaging

Whether you’re packing individual ingredients or you’re shipping ready-made meals, you need to make sure you’re using food safe primary-packaging. Think things like food-grade gusseted bags, plastic containers and even vacuum packaging if you want to preserve freshness for longer.


Any packaging that comes into physical contact with the food you’re shipping must meet food contact material regulations – click here to check them out. Plus, you need to think about the environment your packaging will be stored in – whether on your own site or by your packaging supplier – this needs to be appropriate too.


  1. Insulation & protection

After your primary packaging is in place, you’ll need to think about how you’re protecting your goods in transit. This will probably involve both impact protection and temperature control, depending on your product.


A great thermal packaging is paper packaging – it can offer protection and insulation at the same time. Click here to download our thermal paper packaging brochure to learn more. If you require chilled or frozen transport, you’ll also need some kind of cooling element inside your pack, to maintain the temperature inside it.


  1. Outer packaging for shipping

To maximise protection and thermal insulation, we recommend using a double wall box as your outer packaging. We can also guide you on the style and size you need – as this will be determined by your overall product dimensions.


To clearly identify your subscription service, including branding on your outer packaging, whether on the inside or outside of the box. This will help you differentiate from competitors, establish identity and enhance customer experience as packaging will often be your first physical touch-point with customers.

Don’t forget sustainability

Another factor you may want to consider is the sustainability of your packaging. Consumers are increasingly concerned with how eco-friendly packaging is – across all markets. Could you factor this in to your meal subscription packaging?

For example, reusable or returnable packaging is becoming more popular. You could start a scheme that meant customers got a discount or subscription box free if they returned several pieces of primary packaging that your business can reuse or re-purpose.

If you’re using thermal packaging, there are also lots of eco-friendly alternatives to traditional materials like polystyrene. Head over to our blog to see the options we can help you with…

Schedule time with a packaging expert

If you want support with your meal subscription packaging, schedule an appointment with one of our packaging experts. Email or complete our contact form today.