Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)

Amazon launched its Frustration-Free Packaging (”FFP”) initiative in 2008 to accomplish several goals. First, the program is designed to reduce waste by right-sizing packaging and removing the need for additional packaging from Amazon. Another objective was reduced damage and returns by requiring lab-tested protective designs. Third, the program requires 100% curbside recyclable materials. Lastly, the packages must be easy to open. Package can no longer have plastic clamshells or wire ties.

The FFP program initially targeted toys and has since grown to include hundreds of categories.  The ultimate goal is that every product will meet these guidelines. FFP is considered Tier 1 in Amazon’s packaging certification tiers.

A Frustration-Free Packaging product is basically a product that meets the Ships In Own Container (“SIOC”) requirements, plus several additional requirements. An FFP product falls into the same classification typing as SIOC (Types A through G) and is subjected to the same testing and needs to meet the same standards. However, in addition to those requirements, FFP packages must also need be easy to open (within 120 seconds). Also, the entire package must be curbside recyclable. This means no EPS is allowed in the package and poly bags (HDPE or LDPE) may only be used for small parts containment or abrasion resistance/dust protection.

Wire ties are allowed only for cord management. Packaging peanuts, shredded paper, welded clamshells, blister packs, etc. are prohibited. There is also a box utilization score that must be met. The calculation is volume of the product divided by the volume of the packaging. The box utilization score must be greater than 30% for fragile or 50% for non-fragile items.

In addition to the changes already mentioned, Amazon is also changing the form of packaging used for a lot of products. For instance, the company is requiring smaller items no longer be sent in boxes, but rather be sent in flexible mailers. This has significantly reduced the overall packaging size and weight.

Receiving Amazon’s Frustration Free Packaging certification provides several benefits including the reduction or removal of Amazon Prep Chargebacks, reduced packaging costs, reduced inbound transportation costs, additional site marketing and free vine enrollment.

When does a product need recertified to the Amazon-Frustration-Free-Packaging process? The good news is that as long as the materials and components are not changed, recertification is not needed. However, vendors may need to make changes. The most common changes that require FFP recertification include a change in the package size (for instance from three units to four), the addition or removal of components, a change in the sealing method and design or material changes to the shipper, primary package or protective material used.

The impact of the FFP program has been remarkable. Fischer Price was an early adapter and provided a case study of the impact. On one particular toy, the number of packaging components was reduced from 19 to one. The package volume was reduced from 8,736 inches cubed to 1,063 inches cubed. The air shipped volume was reduced from 6,683 inches cubed to 42 inches cubed. Amazon globally claims that the FFP initiative saved the equivalent of 305 million shipping boxes in 2017 alone.

The test program and test sequence of the FFP program will depend on the products dimensions and weight. Amazon’s standards were written in partnership with the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). For more information on what standards your product would need to comply to, please visit our Amazon Package Test Type Calculator.

Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of certifying your product as having Frustration-Free Packaging? Partner with Keystone Package Testing and APASS Lab to receive accredited Amazon package testing. Our expert team will walk you through the process and provide you with a detailed and affordable quote. Let’s get started!