Your friends rave when you break out your homemade hot sauce. It’s clearly a winner, a perfect mix that hits all the right notes in your choice of chiles, acids, aromatics, and salts (Wilbur Scoville would be proud!). And they’re always saying you should be selling it—a thought that you’ve been having a lot lately, too. But you’re also wondering, where exactly do you start?
There’s plenty to sort out when you start a business. Accounting and cash flow, employees and management, production and distribution, advertising and marketing, and (especially) packaging. Luckily, we happen to know plenty about that last one and can help you sort out your options.
Here’s 7 spicy hot sauce packaging supplies you’ll need to kick start your business.
Choose the perfect hot sauce bottle.
Plenty of mass-produced hot sauce brands use plastic bottles. It’s a cost-cutting measure that lets them use the cold fill technique (dispensing the sauce into the bottle once it’s cooled down) to save on equipment and employee protection. This also exposes the sauce to bacteria and spoilage, so it’s pumped full of chemicals and preservatives (which many argue alters the taste).
Plus, there’s the fact that chili is acidic and can dissolve plastic into the hot sauce. Who wants a little PET plastic to spice up their hot sauce? Not us, and certainly not you. Basically, don’t use plastic.
Instead, opt for glass bottles. They can handle the hot fill technique (dispensing the sauce at high temperature so it doesn’t develop bacteria or require preservatives) and don’t leach chemicals into the sauce. They’re more expensive to source, fill and transport, but they’re a better choice for this world-class hot sauce of yours.
From there, it’s a matter of what bottle shape and size you prefer. Common wisdom suggests using round-walled bottles rather than square, so there are fewer places for the sauce to clump or dry out in.
Design custom labels for that perfect bottle.
You’ve got the sauce (both the condiment and the personality!), you’ve got the bottle, and now you need the label. If you’ve made your own logo, or found a good graphic designer to develop one, creating an eye-catching, branded hot sauce bottle label isn’t going to be difficult.
All you need is your colors, graphics and list of ingredients to start. But don’t be afraid to add anything appropriate that dresses up the label and adds to your brand’s story. Personality is never a bad idea on a packaging label—and your eventual customers will love your hot sauce even more for it.
If you don’t have access to a graphic designer or expensive design programs, our Custom Shop has you covered. Custom labels are easily built using the free online packaging design tools you’ll find there. Upload your own artwork, try out the (also free!) stock artwork gallery, choose a background color, add text and quickly rearrange elements as you see fit.
With 6 styles and multiple sizes to choose from, you’ll create the perfect custom label in no time.
Invest in bottle labeling machines to save your time, money and sanity.
Now comes one of the most time-consuming acts of using hot sauce packaging supplies—applying your newly-printed custom labels. Sure, it’s a simple act that can be done by hand, but it’s a repetitive motion that’ll tire out employees and eat into your productivity (and your margins).
A better option is to invest in some entry-level automation. A bottle labeling machine improves basically every aspect of this packaging process. The labels are kept clean and safe in one location, they’re easily peeled from their backing by the machinery and applied much faster (and with more placement accuracy). And depending on the model you choose, they can accommodate bottles of varying sizes and wall types (like flat or rounded sides), and even offer conveyor belt production for multi-bottle application.
Stick with corrugated boxes for shipping your spicy creation.
Protection and transportation’s yet another important part of the packaging process. Stick with corrugated boxes—they’re a time-tested, reliable hot sauce packaging supplies option. Simply chose the size that accommodates the height of your bottles and whatever number of bottles you’ll pack inside. You’ll also want to consider void fill of some kind, and we’ll get to that just ahead.
But first, boxes are a great opportunity to add some branding and personality to your shipments. All it takes to dress up a standard kraft box is a custom label or a couple strips of custom printed tape. Those simple splashes of graphics and colors go a long way to establishing the look and reputation of your brand-new hot sauce brand.
You don’t have to stop there, either. Custom branded boxes—printed with any graphics, colors and text you see fit—are a showstopping packaging option. They’ll make sure anyone who sees your shipments knows exactly what’s inside and turns green with envy (or should we say red from the unforgettable burn of your hot sauce?). You can even play with the type of box you use—imagine individually shipping your hot sauce bottles in fully-printed front lock mailers.
And speaking of unforgettable, branded or printed packaging is the perfect start to an unboxing experience your customers won’t soon forget. All it takes to truly complete the experience is some strategic inside void fill choices.
Use kraft paper to cradle and cushion.
We’ll start with a simple, ready-to-go hot sauce packaging supplies option: kraft packing paper. You can use bubble cushion, sure, but it won’t go quite as well with the rest of your packaging choices (paper-based, earthy, eco-conscious). Besides, the tactile experience of rummaging around in a mass of noisy, heavily creased and bunched up paper is quite different than simply using bubble cushion (which is still amazing to pop, though!).
If you’re looking to up your inside fill game a little more, there’s another option you’ll love.
Add custom tissue paper to step things up a bit.
Imagine a translucent sheet of super soft and smooth paper. Now cover it in a pattern showcasing your logo and branding colors. Looks amazing, doesn’t it? You’re experiencing what your customers will when they unwrap your hot sauce bottle for the first time.
Custom tissue paper gives a unique and expensive feel to your packaging. After all, if something’s wrapped in paper that delicate and enjoyable to touch, it’s got to be valuable and important. And your hot sauce certainly is. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to create.
Using the free online tissue paper design tool in the Custom Shop, all you’ve got to do is upload your logo (or any one-color, non-gradient graphic you’d like to use), choose a pattern and select your colors (you can use up to two—one for the background, one for the patterned logo). From there, make rotation and size changes to your pattern until you love what you see. Then click checkout.
Once your new stack of custom tissue paper’s in your hands, you can get to wrapping sheets of it around your hot sauce bottles (don’t forget a custom label to secure the sheets!) or creating soft, crinkly nests to cradle them in. Your customers will love it and you won’t regret doing it.
Finish it all off with some custom packing tape.
Every box needs tape to seal and secure it, so why not take the opportunity to add some extra branding to your packaging? What you do with the tape is up to you, but you won’t go wrong if you let taste, intention or even monetary choices guide you.
Earlier we mentioned using custom tape to seal a plain brown box, and it bears repeating here. The world’s biggest online store (you know exactly who we’re talking about) often does this with their packaging and it’s been incredibly successful for them. So, there’s no doubt it’ll work for you.
Even if you opt for fully printed custom boxes, you still have tape choices. You can create an excellent contrast to those printed graphics by using strips of plain brown or white tape. Or you can choose a complementary color not featured on your box and instead flood your custom tape with it. You know the look you’re going for, so be sure to trust yourself.
And once you’re ready to design your very own custom tape, visit the Custom Shop and use the free online design tools you’ll find there. Just like every custom option there, you can upload graphics, add colors, use text and refine things until it’s exactly as you want it. We can’t wait to see what you create.
Building a hot sauce brand takes work, but if you’ve come this far you’ve likely got what it takes to go the rest of the way. And when you get around to building your packaging strategy, you’ll be off to a great start with this list of hot sauce packaging supplies. No matter what you choose, be sure to have fun with it and enjoy yourself. And share some hot sauce samples with us, too!