Space and efficiency are always key for food industry businesses and startups who want to generate profit. This is especially true during times of financial pressure such as the recent COVID crisis.

By making key purchases with careful consideration first, you can help reduce your overheads, maximise your space, simplify your business and even nurture future growth. manage your expansion and nurture future growth.

However, many businesses don’t realise that it’s not just about investing in certain pieces of catering equipment, but also what you decide to do about your packaging.

Because this stuff matters. Not only will it protect against food contamination but also become a tactile brand ambassador and help ensure that your business can reach its full potential.

Here’s what you need to consider before you make your investment, along with a list of the potential items of space-saving packaging machinery that you could buy.

Pre-investment checklist

Before you make your purchases, start by considering your ideal type of packaging machinery. Would a vacuum packer, shrinking and drying machine, tray sealer or Thermoformer work best for you?

If so, how much could you potentially spend to get what you need? Bear in mind that you don’t have to buy new. There are many used and refurbished packaging machinery options on the market that can help you tick all the boxes without blowing your budget.

Then narrow down your options by considering the size, physical footprint, speed, material specifications, ease of use, durability and any other requirements you may have for your packaging machine.

At this point, it can be useful to get trusted advice from a packaging machinery professional who can help you identify your needs and make the right choice.


Best space-saving packaging machinery

Here is our rundown of the main packaging machines that can help you save space and money whilst ensuring your customers get a product that exceeds their expectations.

Vacuum Packers

Offering a variety of product options (including a tabletop version), vacuum packers provide a simple yet effective way to save space whilst also saving you money.

The method itself removes air from the packaging before sealing it tight, allowing you to keep your products fresh, safe from contamination and significantly extending their shelf life.

Saving around 50% space compared to Tupperware boxes, they’re ideal for small products or small quantities and could be the ideal solution if you work in the catering industry, you are a butcher or farm shop or offer individual portions to your customers.

Shrinking and drying machines

Shrinking and drying machines offer the same benefits as vacuum packing yet apply hot water to shrink the package around the product. This offers a superior, wrinkle-free presentation and prevents the escape of liquids such as juice or sauces. When the drying machine is applied, you can easily label your product and increase customer appeal.

The result is a moisture-proof, impact-proof product that is ideal for multi-item packaging and pallet shipping. With its small and compact size, short warm-up time and power-saving options, it’s ideal for businesses with limited budgets and space.

Tray Sealers

Ideal for businesses who want to present their fresh produce, meat, ready meals or frozen meals in an appealing way, tray sealers apply plastic film lids to food trays.

They enter the machine via a conveyor belt, are sealed with film and then pressed against the tooling mechanism to activate the sealing mechanism and cut the film. Extremely versatile, they’re ideal for use with a range of materials, sizes and depths of packaging and offer an excellent presentation to your customers.

As with other similar packaging machinery, they help extend the shelf life of your product whilst helping you to package your foods neatly. Choose the space-saving semi-automatic tray sealer and you can deliver an outstanding product to your customers regardless of your space constraints.


Thermoformers use a technique similar to tray sealing yet use two films to allow you to create your own product packaging. Two films are heat-melted then air can be removed to create a sealed, cost-saving, space-saving product ready for customer enjoyment.

Choosing a thermoformer provides you with four options:

●      Seal only- No vacuum is used.

●      Vacuum- A vacuum is applied

●      MAP- The air is removed and replaced by preservative gases for longer shelf life

●      Skin packing- Ensures that the top film fits perfectly to help retain liquids


With the right space-saving packaging machinery, you can deliver an outstanding product to your customers, save valuable storage space and extend the shelf life of your product, even if you have limited space in your premises.