Consumers care more than ever about safe food packaging — and tamper-evident packaging in particular — and suppliers of the instore deli and bakery industries are constantly refining their products to meet that demand.

Tamper-evident packaging attracts consumers in two ways, according to Shelton, Connecticut-based Inline Plastics Corp, says Cindy Blish, marketing. One, it affirms that the quantity of a pack’s contents is correct. But more importantly, tamper evident packaging lets consumers know that their food has not been contaminated.

“Consumers certainly prefer knowing that nobody touched their food,” Blish says. “We recently performed an online study among 2,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older. Over two-thirds said tamper-evidence and tamper-resistance were important characteristics when it comes to purchasing food in clear plastic containers.”

The increased importance consumers place on tamper-evidence and packaging safety in general can be traced to the beginning of the 21st century, and it hasn’t waned since, says Jeff Rebh, president and CEO of Innoseal Systems Inc., whose InnoSeal Professional Sealer is a tamper-evident bag-closing system that uses a resealable tape and paper combination to seal products for a variety of industries, including instore bakery.

“Since the terrorist attack of 9/11, consumers have refocused concerns about intentional contamination and its impact on the safety of the food supply,” he says. “A tamper-evident packaged product provides a consumer security throughout the supply chain and purchase.”

Because of the sense of security a consumer gets with a tamper-evident pack, packaging should be treated as one of the most important tools in marketing a product’s brand, Rebh says. “Consumers are intrinsically hardwired to respond to certain visual cues that evoke emotional responses,” he says. “A tamper-evident seal or package can elicit feelings in a consumer that a company cares enough to safeguard the quality of their product and protect the intended consumer.”

In just the past two years, Inline has launched four major new tamper-resistant platforms under its Safe-T-Fresh brand umbrella: SquareWare, RoundWare, SnackWare and PagodaWare. And those were just the big ones, Blish says. Alongside those launches was the introduction of several smaller lines that further addressed market needs. And keep an eye out, she says, for new products from Inline in 2018. “Our focus is on innovation. We are constantly developing new food packaging solutions for a wide variety of applications.”

When it comes to trends in tamper-evident packaging, today’s consumers, Blish says, are focused on size and convenience. “With changing eating habits consumers are looking for smaller pack sizes, as well as multi-compartment containers, where different types of foods can all be packed but stay separated in a single container — hence our SnackWare line.”

In addition to its Safe-T-Fresh lines, Inline offers customers its SureLock clamshell product line, Blish says. While the products are not considered tamper-evident, they feature an overlapping label that can serve as effective way of detecting tampering if it’s torn. “The lids are designed to keep contaminants out,” Blish says.

 In half a century of helping the food industry store, transport and merchandise its products, keeping contaminants out of products has always been top of mind for Inline. “Food safety is front and center for all Inline product developments,” Blish says. And in addition to its packaging products, Inline also designs and develops packaging automation solutions that can be tailored to individual customers’ needs. “That means a complete packaging solution that puts products into the market with less effort, more efficiency — and lower cost.”

The latest updates to Innoseal’s tamper-evident product roster are the L and XL Sealer lines, Rebh says. The L Sealer has a larger entry point that’s perfect for bakery good packed in thicker bags. The XL sealers, available in 1-, 1.5- and 2-in versions, are designed for bulk in box and bundling applications.