17 December 2015 //
by Jarlath Harkin
It’s a pretty exciting time to launch projects involving products packaged in bags and pouches. The overwhelming consumer acceptance of, and continued demand for, flexible packaging is driving its advancement at a blistering pace.
Innovations span base materials, bag and pouch shapes, manufacturing equipment, convenience features, filling and sealing equipment, environmental considerations, and entirely new product format offerings.
However, the evolution of primary packaging also impacts secondary and tertiary packaging. Three bagged and pouch innovations that directly affect bundling are:
1. Bag Shapes
Early adopters of flexible packaging formats often found that the shape of the primary package was driven by limited choices and cost. For example, manufacturers of products such as rice, pet food and garden fertilizer could easily find pillow bags and stand-up pouches with good entry points at relatively low cost. However, both presented significant bundling challenges due to their shape.
Today, with both vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) and pre-made bag technology progressing rapidly, stand-up or block bottom side-gusset bags are now readily available and cost effective. These bag shapes are much better suited to bundling as they can cube out efficiently and do not require a rigid master shipper for distribution stability.
Early enhanced feature closure systems, such as sliders, provided consumers a bag re-closure option preferable to traditional press-to-close. Newer closure systems, such as Velcro®, offer consumers an even better experience and also address some of the machinability concerns associated with sliders. Specifically, the Velcro closure system is very well suited to both filling and bundling equipment due to its low profile and more flexible nature.
3. Filling and Sealing Equipment
Older bag and pouch filling and sealing equipment wasn’t designed to handle new styles or to accommodate bundling as a secondary packaging option. Air trapped inside the bags, in particular, dictated products remain in rigid corrugate shippers.
On the other hand, many current filling and sealing choices process newer bag formats while controlling the atmosphere inside the bag to fully achieve the cost, efficiency and environmental benefits of bundling.
Now more than ever, pouch and bag innovations are creating development opportunities in key areas. A product moved to a new flexible format will enhance the consumer experience and elevate the brand, while simultaneously capitalize on packaging line performance improvements, decrease secondary packaging costs and reduce the environmental impact of the entire package.
Before choosing a bag or pouch for your primary packaging, contact us to discuss how these formats may affect your secondary packaging.