The rise of pouches, sachets and flexible packaging

The future is flexible. Would you believe us if we said that flexible packaging is the most economical and cost-effective way to package your products? According to Smithers Pira, the worldwide authority on the packaging, paper and print industry supply chains, international demand for flexible packaging is expected to reach $248 billion by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing packaging sectors.

A recent article in The Edition Truth by Pragati Pathrotkar stated that flexible packaging is gaining grounds in the field of primary packaging. Advancements in material science have allowed manufacturers like us to create flexible packaging that’s better than anything that we’ve seen before. Besides maintaining the primary function of protecting its contents, flexible packaging offers the advantages of lower weight, better performance, and a much lower scope of contamination. Flexible packaging is also easier to handle and store, and is lighter than boxes, cartons and tubs, allowing for smoother transitions of goods.

Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why flexible packaging is a smarter investment for your company:

1. Take advantage of design flexibility

When it comes to the look and feel of flexible packaging, there are endless possibilities. Flexible packaging has more ‘print real estate,’ meaning that there’s more printable area space to run cross promotions and share more information with your customers. With flexible packaging, you don’t need to conform to existing market styles and sizes; our innovative digital printing technology means that you can change designs frequently, without impacting your bottom line. Digital printing gives your business the flexibility to print as little as 3,000 runs — even if you have six products in your range. This is fantastic for businesses that might want to run an a/b split test or run market trials with variations of products.

Unlike other packaging products and materials, flexible packaging has the option to include a barrier material that blocks harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, keeps moisture out, and protects contents from grease, contamination and oxygen – meaning a longer shelf life for your product.

According to Tom Seymour of the Packaging Digest, foil has an especially low oxygen transmission rate (OTR) and moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR), providing highly functional packaging for products that require a strong guard against damaging elements.

2. Cut back company costs with flexible packaging

If you’re looking at maximising your bottom line and increasing your return on investment, then it’s good news. Flexible packaging is cheaper to produce than traditional rigid formats such as glass jars, laminates or pure plastic pouches which are more dense and rigid. Could your current product offering be housed in flexible packaging? If you’ve answered yes, then you could save your business a tonne of money in the long run—especially on runs of 10,000 or more. Sizably smaller packaging that utilises a higher product-to-package ratio can help your business reduce some of its manufacturing costs.

The savings also extend to shipping. Tom Seymour of the Packaging Digest explains, “flexible packaging is lightweight, making it affordable to distribute domestically and internationally. A rigid counterpart could weigh up to 70% more, which is a costly option”.

3. Increase your brand’s visibility with flexible packaging

Barry Mansfield of Packaging and Converting Intelligence Magazine reveals that a third of consumers consider packaging a vital part of the modern retail experience. So what does this mean for you? Well, your packaging gives you the opportunity for extra decoration, marketing opportunities and clever design.

In 2016, US printing company Flex Films won a ‘Gold Award for Printing & Shelf Impact’ and a ‘Gold Award for Packaging Excellence’ for its design and manufacture of the Kohinoor Anti-Slip Bag.

The award winning design that Flex Films came up with for the Kohinoor Anti-Slip Bag.

The award-winning design that Flex Films came up with for the Kohinoor Anti-Slip Bag.

Not only was the flexible packaging eye-catching, it also was designed with a handle for consumer convenience. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it included micro-embossing on the finished laminate film prior to the bag making, giving it special anti-slip properties. Flex Films explain, ‘this way stacked bags stay in place, whether on a shelf in the store or at home, or on a unitised pallet stacked several feet high.’

Flexible packaging gives businesses an array of design opportunities; graphic designers and creative agencies can utilise high-impact colours and eye-catching graphics. When it comes to the look of your product, flexible packaging allows for digital print on multiple finishes.

4. Be environmentally aware with flexible packaging

Traditionally, flexible packaging has had a reputation for not being environmentally friendly. However, it could also be argued that flexible packaging requires less material to produce, less fuel to transport, and less landfill space for disposal. Thriving Enterprises explains, ‘if you were to replace a steel soup can with a flexible pouch, not only is the weight of the product is reduced by 93 percent, the actual amount of packaging is reduced 97 percent.’

‘Additionally, on average, flexible pouches are both 23% lighter and use 60% less plastic in comparison to rigid packaging.’

There are also signs that many brands that work with flexible packaging are trying to be more environmentally conscious. Barry Mansfield of Packaging, Converting and Intelligence Magazine explains how British supermarket chain Waitrose is trying to make an impact: “Waitrose has been making small changes across its own-brand range that add up to big reductions. For example, moving steaks from trays to flat vacuum-packs saves 30t of packaging a year, while switching to half-sleeves for ready meals saves 127t of paper annually”.

Today, many consumers are more likely to purchase environmentally-friendly products, and flexible packaging has the potential to become one of the most sustainable packaging options. Sean Riley of Food Engineering Magazine explains that packaged a growing number of food and beverage businesses and their suppliers have embraced a commitment to delivering high-quality products to customers while pursuing more sustainable packaging solutions. He explains, “millennials will help to push this trend further for the foreseeable future, as they purposefully seek out products with recyclable or renewable packaging”.

Is your big business ready for a packaging overhaul?

At Luminar, we produce unique labels and flexible packaging for many large Australian businesses including Event Cinemas, Boost Juice and Microsoft. We manufacture flexible packaging in-house in Sydney, which means higher quality work, better quality control and more competitive industry pricing. If your company is ready to make the switch to flexible packaging, speak with us today.