David Bellm

January 30, 2014

2 Min Read
Flexible packaging: Strong demand growth for stand-up pouches expected with greater acceptance in Europe

Although developed nearly 40 years ago, the stand-up pouch has taken some time to be truly accepted in the European flexible packaging marketplace. In 2009, nearly 19 billion SUPs were estimated to have been supplied, accounting for 5% of the total value of converted flexible packaging used in Europe. Wet pet foods accounted for almost a third of this volume and non-retortable food pouches were among the fastest growing. Around 975 million square metres of laminate was used to make pouches, of which 65% was used to make pre-made pouches, with the balance supplied as reels to packers for use on form-fill-seal machines.

Report author Paul Gaster notes, “In recent years, attitudes towards the SUP have become much more positive as brand owners, retailers and consumers recognize the attractions of this format as a cost-effective, convenient and environmentally superior alternative to rigid packaging”. PCI’s study has found that, in the five years up to 2008, European demand for stand-up pouches grew by 10 - 15% p.a. Demand slowed during the economic downturn in 2009, but stronger interest from packers is expected to return in future years.

The renewed interest in SUPs can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the development of new packaging machinery, which delivers much higher production and filling speeds, as well as improvements in sealing efficiencies. Other technological advances have helped improve functionality and better heat and puncture resistance of the laminate material.

Brand owners and food retailers have also more successfully exploited the consumer benefits offered by the SUP, providing a packaging solution with convenient features such as easy-open, reclosing, measured dosing and ease of food preparation. The marketers, too, are reveling in opportunities offered by the SUP for product differentiation, as well as its large graphic area for presentation and its transparency options.

However, such a format is not without its drawbacks and much investment is required in the future in order to bring the entire process up to the higher packing line speeds of the more conventional rigid packaging formats.

In spite of the difficulties currently faced by the SUP, developments are ongoing and significant progress has been made, and as the European economy recovers, PCI Films Consulting forecasts that present unit volume will grow by at least 50% by 2014.

SOURCE: PCI Films Consulting Ltd.


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