Flexible packaging continues to increase in popularity with consumers and brand owners for several reasons—and continues to expand into new markets. For example, brand owners have recently introduced cookie dough, cannabis products and brewed coffee in stand-up pouches. Here are four intrinsic benefits flexible packaging provides that you can take advantage of for your products.
1. Shipping friendly: Flexible packaging is lightweight, making it affordable to distribute domestically and internationally. A rigid counterpart could weigh up to 70% more, a costly option especially for small product runs.
2. Less wasteful: Flexible packaging uses significantly less plastic than rigid containers on average, providing an economical alternative that contains less waste.
What’s more, new methods and technologies exist to broaden the end-of-life options for flexible packaging. For example, scientists have discovered a way to prompt the decomposition process in the plastic used for flexible packaging. When an additive is included in the materials, the packaging biodegrades in a mere 18 months once it encounters a high microbial count, as in a landfill. Since the packaging is reduced to merely water and carbon, its effect on the environment is less than traditional rigid packaging.
3. Appealing to consumers: Flexible packaging attracts consumers because it has great shelf-appeal and often an eye-catching billboard effect. A stand-up pouch, for example, draws immediate attention and engages shoppers.
4. Product protection: Flexible packaging often incorporates barrier material that blocks harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, moisture, grease, contamination and oxygen.
Foil has an especially low oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), providing highly functional packaging for products that require a strong guard against damaging elements.
Tom Seymour is an account executive with Maco Pkg, a firm specializing in custom flexible packaging and contract packaging, with a focus on military, industrial, medical and consumer product markets. Seymour also serves as the vp of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) Western New York Chapter and is the social media chairperson for the Associated New York State Food Processors. He has been a contributor to the flexible packaging profession since 2013 and is focused on innovation and sustainability.