Packaging and Shelf Life

Packaging is a key influence in your product’s market performance.
Generic "to go" box made of recycled brown cardboard

Appropriate packaging maintains your product’s quality. The package provides information about the product and if it’s well designed, it also entices the customer to purchase your product.

NSF International’s team of packaging experts offers advice on appropriate packaging choices or techniques (including troubleshooting packaging issues) that will maintain or increase your product’s shelf life. We also offer testing for package integrity, closures, permeation and oxygen indicator technology.

Package Integrity Testing

Do you need to verify or establish physical properties of your package? We can perform the following package tests for films and plastic containers:

  • Film thickness
  • Tensile and elongation
  • Compression testing
  • Puncture
  • Burst
  • Seal strength
  • Coefficient of friction
  • Headspace gas analysis

Closure Testing

Performance testing is important to ensure the integrity of the package on filling lines or in the marketplace. We use the following International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) standards methods when testing plastic flat-top closures for water, carbonated soft drinks, and aseptic and hot fill beverages.

  • Appearance
  • Dimensions
  • Secure seal test
  • Removal torque
  • Drop and ball impact tests
  • Elevated temperature cycle
  • Pressure/carbonation retention
  • Top load vent test
  • Opening performance
  • Pull–up
  • Back–off
  • Security
  • Vent and angle release
  • Lubricant migration testing
  • Weight

Permeation Testing

Barrier material assessment is useful in selecting the appropriate package to maintain the quality and extend the shelf life of your product. Packaging converters can use permeation testing to establish specification sheets, perform ongoing QA checks and generate COAs for packaging materials.

Brand owners can use permeation testing to verify packaging supplier specifications, compare different packaging materials and troubleshoot possible shelf-life issues.

Oxygen Indicator Technology

NSF has developed a proprietary method to measure oxygen ingression of the entire package (i.e. bottle, closure system and sealed pouch).

Troubleshooting for Packaging Issues

NSF can use sensory techniques to determine if there are product/package interactions that may cause off-odor or off-taste issues. We can assist with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) challenges to extend shelf life. We can:

  • Optimize the gas mixture
  • Help you select proper packaging materials
  • Perform headspace gas analysis
  • Provide on-site consultation for equipment set-up
  • Conduct shelf-life determination

Finally, we examine package failure by investigating seal failure, verifying material construction, performing strength testing and determining barrier properties.

Ready to Begin the Process?

Contact us with questions or to receive a quote.