3 Reasons to Transition to Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is no longer the curious cousin of rigid containers. Over the past few decades, flexible materials have proven their mettle in an industry filled with legacy giants such as aluminum, glass, and rigid plastics. As a result, more brands are making the switch for foods, beverages, and many other products. Are you ready to make the change?

If you wonder what is in it for you, here is the short answer:

  • Lower costs
  • Higher sales
  • Better overall performance
  • Greater sustainability and more eco-friendly options
  • Happy users throughout the supply chain

Here is how flexible packaging can help your brand meet the demands of a changing world while getting a stronger foothold in your market.

#1: Store More Product in Less Space

Storage is prime real estate in nearly every business. Whether it is in your processing plant, your warehouse, or with your supply chain partners, the more you can store in a small space, the better. Flexible packaging takes up considerably less space than more traditional rigid and some semi-rigid containers without compromising product quality. The space-saving nature of flexible materials also translates to fewer trips in a transport truck and lower carbon emissions.

That said, maximizing storage is a trade-off if you cannot access the product conveniently. That is another area where flexible materials excel. With a tap, the user can dispense only what is needed without moving the container or putting the freshness of the remaining product at risk.

#2: Reduce Hard and Soft Costs While Meeting Environmental Goals

One of the most challenging accomplishments in any business is balancing environmental goals with meaningful cost reductions. Flexible packaging merges the two in a product that is better than rigid containers. It is a win/win scenario.

Pack World VP Editor, Pat Reynolds, lists some interesting facts about how other businesses are meeting their goals with flexible packaging. Here are just a few of those stats:

  • Production costs drop by nearly 50 percent.
  • Transportation and shipping efficiencies improve by 45 percent.
  • 55 percent of brands that switched to flexible packaging saw better sales figures.
Flexible packaging

Wines and even beers (decarbonated for packing) stay fresh, and so do a host of other products.

#3: Flexible Packaging Works for a Wide Range of Foods and Beverages

“Flexible” does not just describe the physical nature of film packaging. It is also flexible in regard to the types of products it can safely and conveniently contain. Wines in bulk, dry goods such as grains, chemicals, paint, cosmetics, and many other products can all fit conveniently in flexible packaging without worrying about migration, breakage, or contamination.

Flexible packaging is “innovative,” says David Marinac, host of Ditch the Box, at LinkedIn. In consumer-faciing applications, it gives food manufacturers the freedom to design packages that suit the product. However, even when used solely for internal food manufacturing and processing, the variety of ways in which food manufacturers can put flexible packaging to use are astounding.

Nearly every set of statistics reveals the same pattern. Manufacturing and processing brands are switching to flexible packaging because it does a better job on virtually every front. It is customizable, which gives your product better protection against breakage and migration.

It is lightweight and stores more in less space, which maximizes your storage space and transportation budget. It is tough, smart, safe and ecologically sound as well. If your brand wants to step away from the ordinary and into the future with flexible packaging, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

How Do FSMA Regulations Impact Your Packaging Choices?

From food growers to packaging companies and transportation providers, everyone in the American food industry is subject to the Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA. Signed into law in 2011, there is no aspect of getting food to the end user’s table that is not affected in some way. With tighter, more comprehensive regulations designed to protect food from contamination being the new norm, flexible packaging helps you stay compliant proactively.

Test Packaging on the Front End to Help Control Contamination Risks

One of the most prominent features of the FSMA is prevention. It removes food safety risks before they have a chance to materialize. With flexible materials, you have access to rigorous testing before putting any material into your production line. Testing reveals how a flexible packaging film will perform for a specific food product under numerous conditions, from filling to refrigeration (and including heating in the case of cook/chill films).

Understanding the distinct strengths and weaknesses of the material lets you proactively address risks that could result in migration and contamination. It also helps clarify which films react best under certain transportation conditions. Testing helps you select the most appropriate food packaging material or combination of materials and guides other decisions such as refrigeration requirements.

Testing aligns with the partnership and shared responsibility approach of the FSMA. Not only does the act tighten bonds between national and international food safety agencies at every level, it encourages collaboration between food production, packaging, transportation, and retail stores. For example, your choice of packaging helps transportation companies meet their own FSMA Sanitary Transportation of Food (STF) goals.

Flexible packaging

Data from flexible packaging testing reveals the right materials for every individual food product.

Customize Packaging for Unique Foods

Recalling contaminated foods is within the government’s reach, but you know the old saying about an ounce of prevention.  At the packaging level, a customized container is better at preventing food contamination than something that is more of a one-size-fits-most solution. According to Packaging Strategies, flexible packaging design can directly affect contamination risks in a positive way.

Customization is difficult to achieve with some materials. For example, it is costly to produce a unique glass container for several different food products. Flexible packaging offers a choice between numerous films in a nearly limitless range of dimensions and packaging configurations. Packaging production has a faster turn-around time, and it is also more cost-effective.

Flexible materials can easily be designed from the ground up to prevent contamination. There is nothing more proactive than that. Package dimensions, barrier coatings, dispensing taps, and many other choices are possible in large or smaller production runs. The same choices are possible for an enormous range of foods and beverages.

Store in Bulk, Dispense Without Introducing Contaminants

Bulk packaging, such as for oils used in restaurants, trims packaging waste, but it introduces a food safety concern. Once it is opened, air, bacteria, and other contaminants can filter in. Smaller packaging could help, but you would lose the convenience and cost efficiency of storing in bulk. With flexible packaging, you can remain FSMA compliant and still enjoy the cost-saving and efficient nature of bulk packaging.

A dispensing tap transforms a bulk package into a storage plus daily use container without compromising freshness or introducing air, bacteria, or other contaminants. Sauces, beverages, and more viscous foods such as jams can arrive in bulk, dispense on demand, and guard against contamination with a consistent barrier.

One of the smartest iterations of flexible bulk packaging uses an air chamber that expands as the product is dispensed. It helps eliminate product waste. Thick or syrupy foods dispense as easily as liquids because the air chamber forces product through the tap.

The Food Safety Modernization Act takes the onus off one party and distributes evenly across everyone who handles food products in your supply chain. At each level, preventative measures cut contamination risks for fewer incidents of food-borne illnesses and product recalls.

Food packaging has a serious job. It has to contain food without breakage in the warehouse, on a pallet, in transport, and in service with the end user. Each step of the way, there is some potential for contamination that packaging must address. Flexible packaging manages every point of that journey. It is durable, compatible with new sanitizable filling machines, and offers numerous choices in protective films that keep food fresher longer.

To learn more about how flexible food packaging can help you meet FSMA compliance goals, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.