This type of packaging is used outside of primary packaging to group a certain number of products to create a stock-keeping unit, commonly referred to as a SKU. It facilitates the handling of smaller products by collating them into a single pack. This type of packaging also provides supplementary protection to help maintain the integrity of the primary packaging. In addition, it can serve as a shipping container for small shipments, making it highly useful in e-commerce. Secondary packaging is frequently made up of multiple components (box, padding, separators, reinforcements, bags, paper, etc.). It may also be customized to make a product easily identifiable in the warehouse setting. In the case of cereal, for example, the secondary packaging would be the corrugated cardboard box containing multiple individual boxes of cereal.
Often also referred to as bulk or transit packaging, this type of packaging is used to group larger quantities of SKUs to transport them from point A to point B (e.g. from production facility to point of sale). During this stage, products are handled as distribution units. This type of packaging makes it easier to transport large and/or heavy loads safely and securely. In addition to helping prevent damage, it consequently facilitates the handling, storage and transport of goods.
An example of tertiary packaging is a stretch-wrapped pallet containing a quantity of cardboard boxes (secondary packaging) to enable efficient product shipping.