An Insider’s View of Packaging Trends and Dynamics

Flexible Pouch Packaging Is Trending Now and for the Forseeable Future

By Dennis Calamusa, President and CEO of ALLIEDFLEX® Technologies, Inc

The flexible pouch packaging industry continues to see unprecedented growth throughout a multitude of market sectors. Never has a packaging methodology spanned such a broad cross-section of markets and applications. Flexible Pouch Packaging has dramatically evolved over the past few decades beyond a simple bag, pouch, or wrap.

As a major North American flexible packaging machinery solution provider, we benefit from a unique view and perspective on the flexible packaging industry and enjoy a keen insight into the evolving trends and dynamics taking place in the packaging market. Our perspective is primarily based on the fact that we actively interface and collaborate with a multitude of stakeholders including multi-national consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs), start-ups, entrepreneurs, co-packers, and the entire supply chain of flexible packaging material and other important ancillary suppliers to the industry.

Today’s flexible packaging is sophisticated, customized, and elegant in both design and functionality. Through the incorporation of value-added features including zippers, spouts, fitments and other dispensing features, the flexible package can effectively compete with or replace most methods of traditional packaging from a cost and functionality perspective.

Differentiate brands online and on store shelves

The flexible package format can deliver a unique character or personality of its own through the incorporation of simple or more elaborate customized die-cut shapes. The benefit of dynamic, colorful flexographic, rotogravure, or digital printing can also not be overlooked as a huge marketing benefit on the crowded retail shelf.

Flexible pouch packaging is now being utilized to package, or re-package, a myriad of product applications including both dry and liquid products and virtually everything in between.  Image Courtesy of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc.

Almost every product or application can be a candidate for packaging in a pouch as an alternative to a rigid bottle, can, jar or bag in a box format. Packagers are constantly looking for ways to increase sales and grow market share, particularly during these competitive times. If you are a start-up or entrepreneur, you are also looking for an opportunity to enter the crowded retail landscape in a way that will best position your product or brand for success. Flexible packaging is proving to be a powerful strategic marketing tool in obtaining that important foothold to market success. Offering the right stuff at the right time.

In recent years, package differentiation has proven to be a key component toward market success, particularly if your packaging is different than the market leader who has been utilizing the same packaging methodology for decades and is reluctant to change due to existing infrastructure challenges.

However, most packaging leaders are beginning to realize the important balance between the utilization of their successful traditional brand packaging and the importance of transitioning toward new and different packaging alternatives that are proving to appeal to a new generation of consumers and possibly better suited to the evolving marketing strategies of a new era.

Companies are exploring the use of traditional and flexible packaging to learn how different formats impact consumer preferences and sales. Image Courtesy of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc.

New markets are transitioning to flexible packaging

As flexible packaging grows in popularity with consumers, we are starting to see new markets begin to transition into flexible packaging. Keep in mind, however, that this does not need to mean a complete shift into a new package to replace their legacy packaging methodology. Instead, companies are exploring the use of flexible packaging to see what impact it can have on their sales and consumer preference. After all, packagers are not interested in the business of selling packaging, but if packaging helps them sell more of “what’s inside” that’s magic.

We are now also beginning to see a growing trend toward an increase in non-food, personal care, and over-the-counter products being introduced in a variety of flexible packaging solutions. The standup pouch is still leading the charge, but we are also seeing a variety of other innovative pouch formats being introduced.

The standup pouch is a popular format for non-food and personal care products. Image Courtesy of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc.

Reduce logistics and transportation costs

As packagers start to drill down on their actual packaging costs today, they are becoming more cognizant of the impact of the “total” cost of logistics and transportation which can no longer be easily absorbed based on the rising cost of transportation, fuel surcharges, and labor. Flexible packaging can dramatically reduce transportation costs as compared to more traditional rigid packaging formats.

Flexible packaging can reduce transportation costs compared to traditional rigid packaging formats. Image Courtesy of ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc.

Facilitate recycling with mono-based barrier structures

The flexible packaging industry will continue to evolve and we will see a shift and transition away from laminated materials toward mono-based barrier structures which will better facilitate recycling and will make flexible packaging even more desirable when compared to other traditional packaging formats which have been considered more recycle friendly or “circular.” However, please note that flexible packaging is already the greener choice in most cases when compared to other more traditional alternative formats based upon Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). As a result, flexible packaging will continue to be well positioned as the inevitable packaging choice for the foreseeable future.

About the Author

Dennis Calamusa is President and CEO of ALLIEDFLEX® Technologies, Inc based in Sarasota, FL. Dennis has dedicated the past 30 years of his career to the commercialization of the Standup Pouch and other Flexible Packaging solutions in the North American market. Over his career and through his advocacy he led the charge toward a “re-packaging” movement in the food, beverage, household, and personal care industries which have brought thousands of new product introductions to market in innovative flexible packaging.

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