Eleven trends shaping flexible packaging

    Here are some recent and developing trends in flexible packaging:

    More easy open/ easy reclose options

    Today there are more opening treatments, fitment and closure options available, such as reclosable zippers that do not involve tearing the package to open it and pouches with screw-on caps.

    Clear high-barrier films

    Clear films and coatings barrier properties are becoming comparable to foil and metalized films and offer the possibility of microwavable packaging.

    Penetration into entirely new categories

    Pouches are being used for a variety of food products. Retort pouches for tuna fish and pet food have replaced cans, glass jars have also been replaced by retort pouches for baby food.

    A quick look ahead

    Condiments, beauty products like shampoo and lotion, and soups, stocks and canned fruit are anticipated to be next in line for pouch packaging.

    The slow roll of the cereal aisle

    Cereal is not a product expected to move into flexible packaging any time soon. Cereal manufacturers have too much invested in existing bag in box equipment to make a change.

    More layers in co-extrusion

    More converters are moving towards seven and nine layer coextrusion lines, which provide more flexibility for cost, thickness and functionality.

    Shaped flexible packaging

    FFS (form/fill/seal) packaging can generate a multitude of shapes and styles. Machinery manufacturers are working on equipment to create 3 dimensional pouch packaging.

    More retortable pouches

    The factors driving the growth of retort pouches are they are easier to open than cans, weigh less, result in less waste, minimize loss from denting or breakage and the package can be microwavable.

    Pouches’ wide impact

    New product applications are developing, liquid, viscous, powdered, granulated and particulate. The growth markets include food and beverage, cosmetics, healthcare, pet foods, automotive, pharmaceutical and agricultural.

    Sustainable packaging is taking on new forms

    Flexible packaging offers many green benefits: less plastic and energy used in production; flat packaging results in more efficient transport and storage; and after use less material goes into the waste stream.

    Waste to Energy is coming of age

    WTE is becoming a real end of life option for flexible packaging since advances in municipal incinerator technology have addressed harmful emissions issues. It’s likely that the United States will support efforts to turn waste into electricity, synthetic gas, fuels and recycled materials.

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    Source: Packaging World

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