How to Choose the Right Flexible Packaging
Stand-up pouches are a form of flexible packaging commonly used in the retail industry, and they are just one type of the many flexible pouches available. There are many other packaging options, such as Gusseted pouches (side and bottom gussets), three-side seal pouches, and pillow pouches.
What is flexible packaging?
Flexible pouches are single-use bags made of metal foil, plastic, and sometimes paper. They can be found on retail shelves and used for packaging everything from food snacks to industrial products.
In recent years, flexible pouches have become extremely popular for food packaging. Many flexible pouches are resealable, environmentally friendly, and less expensive than alternatives like glass, metal, and cardboard containers. They have a lower carbon footprint than other alternatives and take up less space in the landfills.
Types of pouches
The stand-up pouch is one of the most well-known and popular types of flexible pouches. This pouch has a fully formed bottom and can “stand up” on the shelf. Stand-up pouches can hold a variety of items, such as snacks like chips, nuts, and granola, as well as frozen foods and jerky.
The stand-up pouch comes in a variety of types; the most common types include:
The wide front of the stand-up pouch and the bottom gusset allows it to stand out on a shop shelf while also providing plenty of space for customised printing or a sticker label. Stand-up pouches, also known as stand bags, can be printed in up to 12 different colours and include features like zip locks, tear notches, gas valves, and hang holes. This pouch packaging type is appropriate for dry products such as spices, cereal, snacks, coffee and tea, and non-food items. Stand-up pouches are also often used for pet food packaging, such as dog chews and cat nip.
Different bottom gussets for stand-up pouches are used depending on the product’s weight and volume. Stand-up pouches can hold products weighing as little as one pound and as much as ten pounds. They may be the best option if low-cost, environmentally friendly, and flexible packaging is needed. Additionally, stand-up pouches can be customised and printed with full colour, edge-to-edge graphics and imagery, making them very appealing to consumers.
Lay Flat Pouch
The flat lay pouch, also known as a pillow pouch, is a fully formed pouch designed to lay flat. The most common types are:
Since flat lay pouches lack a bottom gusset, they cannot stand. However, many businesses may pick this style of pouch packaging and add a hang hole as flat lay pouches work well as part of a display with pegs or laid down. Lay flat bags are ideal for smaller goods weighing less than one pound, such as spices and ingredients, pet treats and non-food items such as chemicals. To be specific, flat lay pouches can store more than one pound. They can have printed as good as stand-up pouches and other product packaging. However, they provide limited retail options because they can only hang or lay flat. Ziplock, tear notches and hang holes are all options for a lay-flat pouch packaging.
Lay flat pouches may be suitable for a simple, environmentally friendly, affordable packaging solution.
FAQ: 3-Sided Seal Pouch vs 4-Sided Seal Pouch
- 3-sided seal pouches have three sealed sides with one part open for filling, while 4-sided seal pouches have all 4 sides sealed.
- 3-sided seal pouches have more packaging capacity than the 4-sided sealed pouches.
- 4-sided seal pouches are uniform compared to 3-sided sealed bags as they are sealed on all sides.
- 3-sided seal pouches are made of one piece of film, whereas 4-sided seal pouches are made of two components.
- 4-sided seal pouches offer better sealing strength, vacuum finish and product protection than 3-sided seal pouches.
- 4-sided seal pouches are used for special packaging compared to 3-sided seal pouches.
Both 3-side seal pouches and 4-side seal pouches are made from similar materials.
They both have similar packaging characteristics and advantages.
What types of customisation are available with flexible packaging?
When one transitions from rigid to flexible packaging, there will be access to many customisation options. Though they differ depending on the type of packaging, most flexible packaging alternatives allow for customisation of:
- Graphics and colours
- Material (including recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable choices, as well as package transparency features)
- Closure or seal (including zippers, spouts, and other reclosure features)
- Barrier (including the number and type of barrier layers)
- Dispensing features (including fittings designed into the packaging material, as well as separate spouts and taps)
What to consider when selecting a flexible packaging solution?
The following factors influence the optimal packaging choice:
- The product type
- The current packaging of the product
- Objectives for converting to flexible packaging
- The method in which the product will be transported or distributed across the supply chain (via domestic or international routes, by truck or container, over short or long distances)
- Whether the product is sensitive to moisture or oxygen
- The types and sizes of packaging are required for various environments and distribution channels (for example, food and beverage firms may sell through retail stores, club/warehouse stores, and e-commerce).
- The desired shelf life of the products
- Requirements and considerations for safety (such as the risk of injury when lifting or palletising packages, the presence of combustible dust, and the need to comply with Ministry of Manpower or other agency regulations)
- Customer or industry-specific requirements, including sustainability requirements
- Whether one intends to fill the packaging in-house (which influences packaging type and filling equipment selection) or whether a co-packer or contract packager is engaged
When deciding whether a business should use flexible pouches, selecting one appropriate for the brand and the products is essential. To choose the best packaging, consider why each bag is a good fit for different types of products and consider the budget, current packaging machinery and materials, and the product’s weight, size, width, and height.