Into the cold: the importance of adhesives in frozen food packaging

You’re here because you have packaging that experiences deep freeze conditions and/or has substrates or coatings that make carton sealing extra challenging.

It may be that you’re already using a standard adhesive grade and have experienced bond failures or pop opens during storage or shipping, causing problems for your business and its customers.

If any of this resonates, you’re going to need to understand why deep freeze conditions present a challenge to packaging adhesives, and how a specialist freezer-grade glue can overcome these issues.

Frozen food packaging: challenging temperatures and substrates

Frozen food packaging is often bonded in a chilled environment before going into a blast freezer, where the temperature can suddenly drop to as low as -55°C. In addition, freezer packaging is often wax-coated or varnished to protect the substrate and increase its tensile strength (as well as improve its overall appearance). This creates extra demands on the adhesive to be both softer, to perform well at lower temperatures, and to provide the additional adhesion to penetrate the substrate and coatings.

Frequent changes in substrates and coatings pose another challenge, with regular design updates and moves towards more sustainable materials causing existing adhesives to lose effectiveness.

The result: food packaging manufacturers need an adhesive that is formulated to balance the needs of high adhesion with low-temperature flexibility, as well as the versatility to cope with increased material changes.

Specialist hot-melt adhesives for frozen food packaging

As already mentioned, freezer-grade adhesives must be soft enough to provide the flexibility required for lower temperatures while still providing the adhesive strength to penetrate difficult-to-bond substrate surfaces and coatings.

Additionally, specialist freezer-grade adhesives should maintain a reasonable setting speed. It is often the case that softer adhesives set more slowly which can interfere with production and reduce productivity. Softer adhesives may also need to be supplied in alternative formats (such as film-wrapped 'pillows') to avoid clumping together. However, such adhesive formats may not be suitable for auto-feed systems.

As a specialist adhesive manufacturer, Beardow Adams has a range of freezer-grade adhesives designed to combat the challenges associated with freezer applications. Specifically, BAMFutura 55 has been developed to bond difficult surfaces, including PET, PP and PE laminate boards, at temperatures as low as -55°C, all while maintaining a good setting speed. It also offers excellent machinability thanks to its thermal stability, little or no stringing, and clean cut off.  

BAMFutura 55 is supplied in a format suitable for existing auto-feed vacuum systems, helping reduce labour costs, save time, and ensure adhesives are processed at a consistent temperature to provide a quality case and carton seal.  

Packaging frozen food? Beardow Adams can make it stick.

For a business packaging frozen food, using a specialist freezer-grade adhesive can provide the added insurance that their cartons and packages will remain safely sealed throughout their intended lifetime. In addition to supplying specialist adhesives, Beardow Adams can also provide a range of services to make your end-of-line packaging run smoothly and effectively. Services that include:

  • Substrate testing: whether at the start of a project or due to substrate, environment, or machinery changes, Beardow Adams’ experienced technicians will provide a fast turnaround of technical analysis of materials to keep projects moving swiftly and recommend a compatible adhesive for the substrate and its application.

  • Off-the-shelf or custom solutions: whether it’s an existing grade such as BAMFutura 55 or a new development, our technicians ensure that an adhesive with the right specifications and performance attributes is supplied for your application.

  • Trial support: Every site is different, which is why adhesive and machinery experts from Beardow Adams work hard to understand your application and its environment. They provide fully supported trials for seamless adhesive testing and changeovers, ensuring minimal disruption to production.

Beardow Adams adhesives are used by food manufacturers across the globe. To start your adhesive journey today, contact one of our adhesive specialists by completing the online enquiry form or by sending an email to:

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