Everything is becoming advanced due to technology, and the packaging sector is no exception. The recent packaging technology aims to provide a better experience to the customers while keeping the costs low and having environment-friendly properties.
That's why many businesses are adopting this approach.
It's flexible packaging.
It's a modern and versatile approach to packaging different materials such as plastic, paper, and foil. This sector is expanding at a rapid pace.
According to statistics, in 2019, the flexible packaging industry in the United States recorded total sales of $33.6 billion. This number is increasing yearly, showing us the growth of flexible packaging.
Corporations are leaving unconventional methods of packaging. They are beginning to use this efficient method, which is extremely beneficial.
But what does it even mean? Is it a good choice for your business?
In this article, I'll share everything you need to know about it so you can make the best decision for your business. So let's get started.
What Is Flexible Packaging?
Flexible packaging is a versatile approach to packaging that utilizes materials such as plastic, paper, and foil to create containers, pouches, bags and wraps for various products. It differs from traditional rigid packaging and offers advantages such as sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and extended product shelf life.
Due to its design flexibility, it's also used in many sectors.
But one thing you should know about this packing is that it's a box or container made of flexible material. So, when you wrap it around the product, it can easily alter its shape. It makes this packing an excellent option for almost all products. Because they don't affect or harm the product.
History Of Flexible Packaging
It's important to know the history of this emerging innovation so you can utilize it to its fullest potential. For this, we need to go back to the 1880s.
At this time, the milk packaging was very traditional. From big cans, it was dipped into consumer vessels. After that, the trend of glass bottles started. You might wonder how people even return it.
These bottles had manufacturers' names, so returning was not a big problem. But you might guess that it was extremely costly.
After some time, manufacturers realized that cans were a better option for storage than glasses because glass bottles had more chances of breakage.
But now, milk is packed in either paper cartons or foil. Notably, the 20th century introduced plastics. Meanwhile, the 21st century focuses on sustainability and smart packing technologies. This adaptable packing form continues to evolve with changing consumer and industry needs.
That's how manufacturers were able to find a suitable medium for packing.
The manufacturers tried and tested many things, and now flexible foil packaging is widely used. This trial and error process was done in almost every industry.
Different Between Flexible & Conventional Packaging
The biggest question is, should you transition and shift to this innovation?
Here's a table of differentiation that will tell you why it's better than conventional methods.
Types of Flexible Packaging
There are different types of packing. But in this section, you'll learn about some of the most commonly used types that might suit your business needs.
Stand-up pouches might be the first thing that might come to your mind after reading about flexible packaging. The best part about this is they are super easy to customize. You don't have to worry about shelf presence because it's amazing.
It includes stand-up pouches, flat pouches, and spouted pouches. They are commonly used for food products, beverages, and personal care products.
It's also a popular form of packaging. Roll stock is an amazing choice if you have vertical and horizontal filling equipment.
Not only this, there are many chances to customize the product uniquely. It enhances accessibility while keeping your products super safe. How does it ensure that?
It has numerous barrier materials through which protection is ensured.
Single-web quad bags are suitable for a variety of products. Some of them are pet foods and gardening products. Why?
Because they are really strong and sturdy, it eliminates the chances of spoilage and infestation. That means your customers receive the product in its optimal condition.
Other than that, resealable bags with a zipper and vacuum bags also fall in this category.
3-Side Seal Pouches
Just by the name, you can tell that this pouch has a 3-side seal. But what's the significance of this?
It provides increased safety and protection to the product. There are some other products as well that utilize this innovative approach. Some of them are as below.
- Sachets: Sachets are small, single-use packages often used for condiments, sauces, and pharmaceutical products. They are designed for convenience and portion control.
- Blister Packs: These are used primarily for pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. They consist of a backing card or foil and a clear blister that holds the individual dose of medication.
- Shrink Sleeves: Shrink sleeves are labels made from heat-shrinkable plastic materials. They are commonly used for branding and labeling bottles, containers, and packaging for beverages and cosmetics.
What Flexible Packaging Material Is Right For Your Product?
Now, it's time to analyze the best material for your product. Ensuring your product stays in its best condition even after packing is extremely important.
Due to its flexibility, it's widely used in different sectors. Some of them are multimedia, cosmetics, children's toys, and sports goods. But is it FDA-approved?
Yes. It is also food-safe.
It is 100% recyclable with an extremely strong tensile strength.
If you have an unusual or irregularly shaped product, then you should use this material because it has a high level of puncture resistance. So your product will have a safe ride through the supply chain life cycle.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Another term used for this material is Polyethylene High Density. It is polyethylene, but you should know that it's a petroleum-based thermoplastic.
Its high strength-to-density ratio makes it suitable for plastic bottles and pipes prone to rust and corrosion. It's also used for lumber, a plastic timber form.
It has a high level of adaptability and is most frequently used. You'll find it in almost everything, but it's recycled. You might find it in your headgear and even bottles of milk.
Aluminum foil & Metalized Substrates
You shouldn't skip this material if your product is sensitive to heat, light, and moisture. It will not give a 50% or 80% barrier against gasses, light, or moisture.
It gives a 100% barrier.
This barrier is paired with a layer of either plastic or paper. Do you know why?
It's to reduce any chances of escaping of aroma. It's widely used in pharmaceutical industries and beverage companies for juice, yogurt, and other food items.
It is a durable material that's widely used in construction industries. Other than that, it has high tensile strength and elasticity. Therefore, it's an integral part of wrapping papers and bags.
Due to low cost and efficiency, the medical industry also uses this material.
Cellulosic and Bioplastic Film
If you're looking for a material that's easy to recycle, biodegradable, and compostable, then cellulosic and bioplastic films are an excellent choice. They prevent the permeation of gasses such as oxygen and oil, grease, etc. But there's one problem.
They don't have good moisture barrier properties. But don't worry, you can solve this solution by lamination.
They are used in the snacks, food, and baking industries.
Why Are Companies Choosing Flexible Packaging?
As I mentioned earlier, many companies are choosing flexible packaging. Is it because it's cheap?
No. That's not the only reason why businesses are moving towards this innovation. It's because of the long list of benefits. So here are some of the benefits of this that you should know.
- Product Protection: It provides an effective barrier against moisture, oxygen, light, and contaminants, helping to extend the shelf life of perishable products. This protection is crucial for preserving product quality and safety.
- Lightweight: The materials used in this process are lightweight, reducing transportation costs and carbon emissions. It contributes to environmental sustainability and cost-effectiveness in the supply chain.
- Customization Options: Manufacturers can easily customize the design, size, and shape of flexible packaging to enhance brand visibility and meet specific product requirements. High-quality graphics and printing options make it an excellent choice for branding.
- Portability: It is lightweight and compact, making it suitable for on-the-go consumption. It is especially valuable for snack foods, beverages, and single-serving products.
- Cost-Effective: It can be cost-effective for production, transportation, and storage. The lightweight nature of the boxing or packing reduces shipping costs, and the reduced material usage can lower production expenses.
The market share of flexible packing is much more than any other form of boxing or packing solution because it's cheap and technologically advanced. The market share of this innovation is also increasing, and due to lower material usage, it's a top choice for various businesses.
Businesses want boxing and packing that are flexible. And those businesses have pushed the growth of flexible packaging.
The future of this approach appears to include smart packaging technologies. It can provide real-time information about product freshness and safety to consumers.
But there are many options available in the market. How can you choose the best for your business? Is it even possible?
At Altro Labels, we help businesses find the best packaging for their business, which isn't only high-quality but also outshines the competitors. Reach out to us today for your packaging and labeling needs.