What Is Barrier Packaging and Why Is it Important to Food Manufacturers?

06 June 2023

Food packaging plays a vital role in keeping food safe, and that couldn’t be more true for barrier packaging. It’s highly effective at keeping shelf-stable foods safe and fresh. In this blog post, we’ll explore more about what this type of packaging is and why it’s important to food manufacturers. 

What Is Barrier Packaging? 

Barrier packaging is designed to protect food products from the elements, including moisture and air particles like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Food packaging that isn't a high-barrier will cause food to spoil faster. Decomposing microbes thrive off the presence of oxygen and nitrogen, so having air flow freely through the packaging will cause the food to rot faster. 

Another thing poor packaging can cause is mold growth, which happens when moisture seeps into the bag. Having mold in your packages doesn’t just reflect poorly on your brand — when consumed, it can make your customers sick. 

Is Barrier Packaging Always Effective? 

No, it’s not always effective. Its main limitation is the preparation of the contents inside. The packaging can’t correct something that went in poorly or increase the shelf life. As an example, dried strawberries would stay safe in a barrier pouch, but fresh strawberries would still rot. Food companies must ensure their products are shelf-stable before putting them in packaging. 

Types of High-Barrier Film Layers 

At The Packaging Lab, we use two types of film: EVOH and metallized polyester. Both are high-barrier and can preserve your food products effectively. 

Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH)

Our clear and white films are made of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH). According to L.W. McKeen’s book Plastic Films and Food Packaging, here are some of the benefits of EVOH film:

  • Colorfastness: Over time, EVOH film retains its color well. It’s unlikely to turn from clear or white to the yellowish color of other aging plastics. 
  • Oil resistance: While oils can break down other types of film, EVOH stands up well to oily substances. This makes it suitable for packaging oily food.
  • Effective barriers: EVOH film is an effective barrier against air particles, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, and helium. Some types of packaging may be less effective depending on the humidity, but EVOH retains its effectiveness even in humid conditions. 

Metallized Polyester 

Metallized polyester film has a thin layer of aluminum on top of polyester. It combines the superior protection of aluminum foil with the flexibility of polyester film. Metallized polyester film is highly moisture and air resistant, so it can keep the contents of your packages safe. 

Which Film Should You Choose? 

Since both types of film perform their jobs well, the main consideration you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing a film is aesthetics. 


EVOH film comes in clear or white. The clear variant is an ideal choice if you want a window on the front of your package. This allows your customers to preview the contents before they buy it. It’s an excellent choice for standup pouches. White is one of our most popular film types. You can essentially think of it as a blank canvas — the colors of your design pop on the white film. 

Metallized Film 

Metallized film gives packages a shiny inside. If you have transparent parts of your design, the metal film will show through to give it a shiny exterior. 

Still unsure which one is right for you? Check out our Help Me Decide page for more information.

Contact The Packaging Lab for Branded Barrier Packaging 

Barrier packaging is primarily designed to keep your food products safe, but there are other considerations you should make before ordering it. Will the packaging look appealing on store shelves? Are the graphics high-quality? Can you order the amount you need? At The Packaging Lab, the answer to all these questions is a resounding “yes.” If you want to find out more about our custom barrier packaging, contact us today.