Three Trends Shaping Flexible Packaging
Interesting article written by Ron Romanik contributing editor of Packaging World. Trends often come and go before you notice them. Flexible packaging trends seem to have a longer life span than most, signaling that the format is here to stay. Here are some recent and developing trends we’re monitoring.
1. More easy-open, easy-reclose options. A much wider range of opening treatments, fitments, and closures is available today than ever before, including linear tear characteristics, reclosable zippers that don’t require any tearing of the pouch header to open, and screw-on spouts for liquid pouches. Machinery has advanced, too, with increased ability to apply these features in-line during filling and sealing with minimal downtime issues.
2. Clear high-barrier films. A new generation of clear films and coatings is beginning to approach the barrier properties of foil and metallized films. This provides new opportunities to showcase appetizing products while avoiding the flex-cracking problems associated with foil and some older coating technologies. These structures also offer the potential for microwave-compatible pouches.
3. Penetration into entirely new categories. Flexible packaging tends to sweep through entire product categories, though admittedly over a period of years. Classic examples include tuna fish and pet food, where retort pouches are now common after decades of can dominance. More recently baby food retort pouches (and thermoformed trays) are replacing glass jars. Flexibles are also being used for home and garden supplies such as fertilizers, where resealability is a key feature.