“Flexible packaging has been one of the fastest growing packaging sectors over the past 10 years, thanks to increased consumer focus on convenience and sustainability, and this rapid development will continue to accelerate,” according to The Future of Global Flexible Packaging to 2020 from Smithers Pira.
That sums up today’s situation quite well. We’ve certainly seen a number of remarkable technological advancements in the last year that have kept interest in flexible packaging high within the packaging community. Especially as consumer acceptance has kept pace, too.
Enjoy our list of the Top 11 flexible packaging developments of 2015, starting from the bottom with…
#11. The new Daisy Squeeze…It may look like a tube, but this package is actually a pouch with a closure (see photo above). Based on the number of Facebook “Like”s, Daisy sour cream fans give this easy-to-dispense and spoon-free solution a thumbs up.
Next: What about end of life?
#10. Ask any consumer what they can do to help the environment and you’ll likely hear “recycle.” While flexible packaging wins more than not when it comes to reduced packaging, it hasn’t been top of mind for its recyclability. Industry expert and blogger Ashley Swineheart wonders, “Is 100% recyclable flexible packaging possible?” Inquiring packaging professionals want to know, too.
Next: Horsing around with a box-pouch
#9. The new 20-lb “box pouch” of Dr. Thornley’s Hay Balancer nutritional supplements for horses from Equine Health Sciences (EHS) is a real thoroughbred of a package. The easy-to-carry package stands upright for eye-catching shelf display. It’s also water-resistance, recloseable and different from competitive products, which are typically sold in unwieldy plastic buckets.
Next: Stick-pack revolutionizes biofood
#8. For those of us who want the health benefits of red wine without the calories or alcohol, the new Vinia red grape powder—deemed a “biofood”—offers dispensing convenience with the popular stick-pack format. Not only does the packet keep the powder fresh, but it is easy to carry, open and dispense.
Next: Two-in-one pouch
#7. The Rip>Peel>Mix pouch for KOOEE! Snacks keeps the company’s all-natural snacks fresh until people are ready to eat them. The unique dual-compartment pouch also opens along the side, instead of the top, to make the mixing easier and so hands of any size can easily reach in.
Next: It’s not all about the material
#6. So once you’ve made the switch to flexible packaging, how do you get your product in the bag? We took a look at four bagging systems that could help you make the conversion as simply as possible.
Next: Resealing a flexible pack gets contentious
#5. Chips Ahoy! had a patent on a resealable flow-wrap cookie package—and then lost it. Patent expert and storyteller William Honaker teaches us the moral of the story.
Next: Another hybrid tube-pouch
#4. Want to reduce product waste? The patented “flexible tube with gussets” helps get more of viscous products out of the package, including squeezable foods and shampoo. Thinner than the typical tube (which it could replace), the hybrid package might also improve filling efficiencies—and potentially line speeds too—because you can reduce the heat and dwell time needed for sealing. Additionally, “Moving from a thicker injection molded bottle to laminated flexible packaging will offer significant reduction in packaging. Although the cap will remain the same, the material in the bulk of the container will be reduced by 50% to 80%,” says Sal Pellingra, vp of innovation and technology for converter ProAmpac.
Next: Need more reasons?
#3. Just what is it about flexible packaging that makes it so popular today? While certainly not limited to these four reasons, this short-list is a good place to start if you’re looking to defend or justify your choice.
Next: Ah, the irony!
#2. Sustainable packaging blogger Bob Lilienfeld weighs the difference (literally) between the environmental benefits of source reduction and recycling. Guess what packaging format still comes out ahead? Take a moment to read the insightful comments below the article, too.
Next: Finally, #1…no wait…12?
#1. Our top flexible packaging article of the year is a real winner. Actually, it’s 12 winners in one. We celebrated all the winners of the 2015 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards from the Flexible Packaging Assn. but focused our slideshow on the two Highest Achievement Awards and the 10 Gold Award winners. As a judge this year, I was able to offer an inside look at some of the top developments.
It’s fitting that we end our list with the best packages of the year.
Learn about the latest developments in flexible packaging at WestPack 2016, Feb. 9-11 in Anaheim, CA.