5 Ice Cream Packaging Ideas: How to Package Ice Cream

Joanna Okedara
Table of Contents
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    What is the best packaging for ice cream? Great question!

    As an ice cream business owner or wholesale ice cream distributor, one thing that will help you stand out in the highly competitive ice cream industry is your ice cream packaging. The colors you choose, the type of wholesale food packaging material, and even the content on the label all come together to tell your brand story and attract customers to your ice cream products.

    The right eCommerce packaging ensures that your ice cream remains creamy, delicious, and free from freezer burn until it reaches the eager hands of your customers.

    Key Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if you're running an ice cream truck business or selling wholesale ice cream to retailers, the right ice cream packaging will keep your wholesale products fresh and, at the same time, captivate your audience. So, how do you package ice cream for sale?

    There are several ice cream packaging ideas, from plastic to cones. However, which is the right ice cream packaging for you?

    Let’s find out!


    Why Do We Package Ice Cream?

    Besides the obvious reasons - keeping your different types of ice cream fresh and promoting your ice cream business - there are several other significant reasons why packaging ice cream is crucial for both the product and the business.

    They are:

    • Preventing Freezer Burn: Ice cream packaging acts as a barrier against freezer burn, which occurs when air comes into contact with the ice cream. Freezer burn can negatively impact the taste and appearance of the product.
    • Brand Visibility and Promotion: Well-designed packaging serves as a promotional and eCommerce marketing tool, showcasing the brand logo, design, and other branding elements. You can attract customers with eye-catching ice cream packaging.
    • Extending Shelf Life: Proper packaging can extend the shelf life of the ice cream by providing a protective barrier against external factors that could cause spoilage or degradation.

    5 Ice Cream Packaging Ideas

    Here are some innovative ice cream packaging ideas:

    1. Eco-Friendly Packaging

    In an era of growing environmental consciousness, eco-friendly ice cream packaging is not only responsible but also attractive to a broad customer base. Prominently display eco-friendly certifications or messaging on your packaging to communicate your commitment to sustainability.

    Eco-friendly packaging can also tell a story. Don't forget to choose eco-friendly printing and labeling options as well to maintain consistency in your sustainability efforts.

    1. Vintage-Inspired Packaging

    Transport your customers back in time with vintage-inspired ice cream packaging. Incorporate retro fonts, illustrations, and color palettes reminiscent of the mid-20th century, evoking nostalgia for the classic ice cream parlor experience. Vintage packaging can give your brand a charming and timeless appeal, making it stand out in a crowded market.

    If you want to create a cohesive vintage look, it is important to pay attention to every detail. Details like the typography, color schemes, illustrations of classic ice cream treats, and old-fashioned ice cream scoops can give the vintage look you desire. 

    You can even use distressed or weathered effects to give your packaging an authentic vintage feel. 

    1. Seasonal Themes

    For instance, during Christmas, you can adorn your containers with festive snowflakes and holiday motifs. During Halloween, spooky designs featuring ghosts, pumpkins, and witches can add a playful touch to your packaging. 

    To make the most of seasonal packaging, consider limited-time flavor offerings that match the theme. For example, a pumpkin spice flavor for fall or a candy cane ice cream for the winter holidays can complement the seasonal packaging and create a complete experience for customers. Promote these limited editions both online and in-store to drive interest and restaurant sales.

    1. Texture-Inspired Design

    Experiment with texture-inspired design elements on your ice cream packaging. Incorporate raised printing, embossing, or unique materials that mimic the texture of your ice cream's ingredients. For example, if you have a rocky road flavor, you could use raised printing to create a tactile sensation of nuts and marshmallows on the packaging. This tactile approach can make your packaging more engaging and memorable.

    1. Themed Collections

    Introduce themed packaging collections that tie into popular culture, movies, or current trends. For instance, if a highly anticipated movie is being released, create limited-edition packaging featuring characters or scenes from the film. This strategy taps into the excitement surrounding the theme and can attract fans of the movie to your brand.


    Innovative Ice Cream Packaging Materials

    Here are some examples of innovative packaging materials for ice cream:

    1. Edible Packaging

    Imagine packaging that's not just eco-friendly but also edible. Edible packaging materials like edible rice paper, chocolate cups, or wafer cones can enhance the customer experience by allowing them to consume the packaging along with the ice cream. For example, instead of a traditional ice cream cone, you could offer an edible chocolate cone that compliments the flavor of the ice cream.

    1. Popsicle Sticks with Plantable Seeds

    For popsicle-style ice cream treats, use sticks made from biodegradable materials embedded with plant or microgreen seeds. After enjoying their ice cream, customers can plant the sticks in their gardens or pots, creating a sustainable and interactive experience. 

    1. Reusable Containers

    Encourage sustainability by offering reusable containers for your ice cream. Customers can return these containers to your shop for refills, reducing single-use packaging waste. Some brands even offer discounts or rewards for returning and reusing their containers.

    1. Thermochromic Ink

    Use thermochromic ink that changes color or reveals hidden designs when exposed to temperature changes. For example, as the ice cream inside the container begins to melt or as it's held in the hand, the packaging could reveal a playful message or a surprise design. This adds an element of fun and interaction to the ice cream packaging.

    1. Sustainable Wood or Bamboo Containers

    Explore using sustainable wood or bamboo containers for a natural and rustic ice cream packaging option. These materials can provide a unique, earthy feel and appeal to customers who appreciate eco-conscious choices. Customize the containers with laser etching or branding to maintain a polished appearance.

    1. Light-Blocking Packaging

    To protect light-sensitive ice cream flavors like pistachio or matcha latte, use packaging with light-blocking properties. Dark, opaque materials can shield the ice cream from light exposure, preserving its color and flavor integrity.

    Ice Cream Packaging Machine

    Here are some common types of ice cream shop equipment and packaging machines:

    • Filling Machines: These machines accurately measure and fill ice cream into containers. They can handle a range of container sizes and may include multiple filling heads to increase production speed. 
    • Lidding Machines: After the ice cream containers are filled, lidding machines apply lids or covers to seal them securely. Some machines can also heat-seal lids on containers for added tamper-evidence.
    • Capping Machines: For products like ice cream cones or popsicles, capping machines apply caps or covers to protect the ice cream and make it ready for retail sale. 
    • Cartoning Machines: Cartoning machines are used for packaging ice cream bars, sandwiches, or multipacks into cardboard cartons or boxes. They automate the process of placing the ice cream products into cartons and sealing them.
    • Packing Machines: Packing machines are used to group individual ice cream products into larger packaging, such as multipacks or cases. They can arrange products in various configurations to match the desired package size.
    • Sealing Machines: Sealing machines are used for heat-sealing plastic containers or cups to ensure a secure seal and prevent leakage. 
    • Batch Coding and Printing Machines: These machines print batch numbers, expiration dates, and other essential information directly onto the packaging, ensuring product traceability and compliance with regulations.

    Ice Cream Packaging Types

    What kind of packaging is used for ice cream? Let’s see!

    1. Cartons and Boxes

    Cartons and boxes are commonly used for packaging multiple units of ice cream. These sturdy, usually paper-based packages provide protection and organization for ice cream bars, sandwiches, or smaller containers. They often come with appealing designs, displaying enticing images of the ice cream product and necessary product information.

    1. Tubs or Containers

    Tubs or containers are popular packaging options for ice cream, especially for take-home purchases. These typically come in various sizes, accommodating single servings to larger quantities. 

    Made of durable materials like plastic or paperboard, they are designed to preserve the ice cream's freshness and prevent freezer burn. The lid provides a secure seal, ensuring the product remains intact until consumption.

    1. Cones

    Ice cream cones are a classic and beloved packaging type. The cone itself is an edible vessel that holds the ice cream, providing a delightful, crunchy contrast to the creamy treat. 

    1. Popsicles and Ice Cream Bars

    Popsicles and ice cream bars come in individual, stick-based packaging. The ice cream is often molded into specific shapes and then attached to a stick for easy handling. 

    Additionally, the stick serves both as a handle and a practical means to enjoy the frozen treat without making a mess. The ice cream packaging may include a wrapper or protective covering to maintain the product's quality and hygiene.

    1. Wrappers for Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Ice cream sandwiches are typically wrapped in protective ice cream packaging, often made of foil or plastic film. The wrapper allows for easy handling and consumption while preventing the ice cream from sticking to fingers.

    How Do You Pack Ice Cream For Sale?

    Here are the steps to effectively pack ice cream for sale in your ice cream business:

    • Choose Suitable Packaging Materials

    Select ice cream packaging materials that are specifically designed for ice cream. Common options include tubs or containers, cartons, cones, popsicle molds, and wrappers. Ensure that these materials are made from food-safe, durable materials that can withstand freezing temperatures.

    • Prepare the Packaging

    Before packing, make sure your packaging is clean and sanitized. This step is vital for maintaining the hygiene of your ice cream products. Ensure that any lids, cones, or wrappers are ready and organized for efficient packing.

    • Fill the Containers

    Use specialized filling machines or scoops to accurately portion the ice cream into the chosen containers. Pay attention to portion sizes and maintain consistency to ensure customer satisfaction. Fill each container to the recommended level, leaving some space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.

    • Seal and Secure

    Seal the containers securely to prevent air from entering, which can lead to freezer burn. Depending on the packaging type, you may use lids, caps, or wrappers. For tubs and containers, make sure the lids fit tightly. For cones, ensure they are properly sealed or wrapped to maintain freshness.

    • Label the Packaging

    Attach clear and informative labels to your ice cream packaging. Labels should include essential information such as the flavor, ingredients, nutritional facts, allergy warnings, and branding elements like the logo and company name. Ensure that the labels are legible and comply with food labeling regulations.

    • Check for Quality Control

    Conduct regular quality checks during the packing process. Address any issues promptly to maintain product quality.

    • Store Properly

    After packing, store the ice cream in freezers or cold storage units at the recommended temperature to maintain its freshness and consistency. Be mindful of storage conditions to prevent contamination or temperature fluctuations.

    • Organize Inventory

    Keep track of your packed ice cream inventory to ensure efficient stock rotation. Use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system to minimize product wastage and ensure that customers receive the freshest ice cream.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Ice Cream Packaging

    Let’s answer a few questions about ice cream packaging.

    What are the 4 Types of Materials That Used in Packaging?

    The four types of materials used in packaging are:

    • Paper and cardboard
    • Plastic
    • Metal
    • Glass

    What Type of Plastic is Used For Packaging?

    The type of plastic used for packaging includes:

    • PET plastic
    • HDPE plastic
    • LDPE plastic
    • PP plastic
    • PS plastic

    What Packaging is Used in Dairy Products?

    The types of packaging used in wholesale dairy products are:

    • Plastic containers
    • Glass bottles
    • Cartons

    What is Ice Cream Cone Packaging Made of?

    Ice cream cone packaging is made of paper or cardboard. Some ice cream cone packaging may also include wax or plastic coating. There are also edible ice cream cones like wafer cones and sugar cones.

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