Choosing Custom Packaging or Stock Packaging

When you are planning a new product, one of the factors you have to consider is how it will be packaged. Whether it's yogurt, lotion, light bulbs, or buttons, you need some type of container or covering that will protect the item, provide valuable information to the consumer, and is eye-catching and attractive enough to reflect your brand. One of the first things to consider when designing packaging is whether you should choose stock packaging or custom packaging. If you're not sure how to decide, our thermoforming company in North Carolina is breaking down the difference between them and the pros and cons.

What are Stock and Custom Packaging

While you probably already have an idea as to the difference, let's look at exactly what stock and custom packaging are.

What Is Stock Packaging

Stock packaging is ready-to-purchase packaging that is ready to fill, label, and sell. Typically, stock packaging is inexpensive because it's made in such mass quantities, but it's only available in limited sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. For example, stock four-ounce jars may only be available in clear, white, black, and amber PET plastic making it hard for your product to stand out from competitors.

What Is Custom Packaging

Custom packaging is designed specifically for your item and is completely unique. This is ideal when you have a specific shape, color, or type of plastic, or you need something that is more closely fitted to the shape of the product. With plastic packagings, such as custom clamshells, stand-up pouches, jars, or tubes, you would work with a team of plastic engineers and product designers, providing them with the qualities you need and design preferences. They will work with you to use that information to create a prototype. Once approved, the tooling is fabricated and production set-up is prepared, then manufacturing your custom packaging begins.

Pros and Cons of Stock Packaging

Stock packaging is generally the more common option, but let's look at the pros and cons to help you determine if it's right for you.


  • Inexpensive, particularly in small quantities;
  • Fast turnaround time - place an order and wait for the shipment to arrive;


  • Generic appearance;
  • May not find stock packaging that will fit your products;
  • Unavailable in specific colors, shapes, and sizes;
  • May require filler packaging to make up for gaps and crevices in an ill-fitting stock container or package.
  • Poor-fitting packaging can increase your shipping cost.
  • Supply chain issues may mean your preferred packaging is out of stock.

Pros and Cons of Custom Packaging

While having custom packaging designed and manufactured is less common, let's look at the pros and cons to see if this may be the better option.


  • Specifically designed for your product, including color, shape, size, and material. You get exactly what you need.
  • Little to no material waste as the package is designed to fit closely, reducing waste, size, and weight;
  • Stands out from competitors using generic stock packaging;
  • Once the initial tooling and production runs are complete, additional orders are generally much simpler.
  • Thermoforming offers a lower cost and faster turnaround than injection molding and can be used for a wide variety of packaging needs.


  • Typically minimum order quantities are in place;
  • Costs include prototype, tooling, and production set-up, making initial costs higher;
  • Design and set-up can take several weeks;

Which Option Is Right for Your Company?

Looking at the pros and cons of both custom and stock packaging, you can probably determine that stock packaging and containers are good for low to medium volume orders, small businesses with minimal budgets, and temporary products where speed is needed. On the other hand, if you have a large, 1,000+ product order that you want to ensure has close-fitting protection and a higher-quality look, custom packaging may be the best option.

Get a Free Quote on Custom Plastic Packaging

At Advanced Plastiform, Inc., our experienced design team will help you create the custom plastic packaging you need for your products, and our manufacturing team ensures quality, durability, and consistency. our company supplies plastics across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states including North CarolinaSouth CarolinaPennsylvaniaMaryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

Advanced Plastiform Facility

Contact the Leaders in Thermoforming

We're here to discuss your custom plastic manufacturing needs.
Please call us at  919-404-2080 or email us now.