High performance, low waste and easy-to-brand pouches are taking over shelf space in some of the most unexpected places. What started as a fruit flavored drink in a stand-up pouch, has evolved into one of the most versatile packaging products of modern times. Pouch technology can deliver a better customer experience at a cost-effective price. Pouches now carry everything from baby food to motor oil, and new uses are being launched every year.
The most apparent trends in pouch packaging are related to versatility, freshness and convenience. Pouches can be customized with fitments and creative shapes to make them work for a wide variety of everyday products. Cleaning companies are fitting pouches with spray caps, and wine companies utilize spouts on standup pouches. There are even caps upside down gel and liquid pouches for convenient dispensing and less waste. Brand owners can use new consumer acceptance of flexible packaging to disrupt retail shelves and increase e-commerce sales.
Advertising is also easier with stand-up pouches. Pouches can be printed with HD graphics in full color, turning products into brand billboards. As pouches evolve, more custom sizes and shapes will show up on shelves, from tiny trial size versions, to creative cutouts that enhance the brand.
Sustainability is also driving brand owners from rigid packaging to pouches. Across the country, consumers are choosing a sustainable package over a non-sustainable package. Pouches with zip-top closures are replacing boxes, tins, and large bags with twist ties or clips to keep products like coffee beans and frozen foods fresh. Pouches with spouts make portioning easy for products like honey and hand soap. The lightweight nature of pouch material is ideal for on-the-go snacks and drinks, providing an ease of entry for new products to the market, tailored to modern consumers preferences.
Pouch materials can be more easily customized to serve a specific product need than other packaging formats. Custom barrier films can be used to prevent intrusion from moisture, oxygen, or light. Other specialty films can be used to make the pouches recyclable or to make the pouches compostable. More specialized film structures will be used as the pouch industry evolves to meet these growing needs, and will become even more cost-effective along the way.
Bottles and cans may still win in the speed category for filling operations, but lose once all that weight goes into a truck expelling CO2. New pouch filling technology will help catapult pouches to be a more feasible option for more products for high volume products like tomato sauce.
While not ideal for every product, yet, pouches are becoming recognized by customers as an exciting packaging solution that offers them better performance and convenience. Developing pouch packaging technology and innovative uses will continue to open the market to new products.