If one change in your packaging could cut your production costs in half, increase sales and reduce environmental impact, that would likely get your attention!
Packaging any liquid or semi-liquid product, especially when it is a perishable item, can be made more affordable, appealing and environmentally friendly if you opt for flexible packaging. These containers can be made from paper, plastic, foil or film. The packages themselves can be produced in nearly any shape, although they are most frequently in the form of a pouch, bag, liner or overwrap. The industry accounted for about $30 billion in sales in 2016, and is expected to grow.
Reasons for growth
Flexible packaging helps companies to both establish their brand identity. It can also make creative changes in the appearance and function of their product when needed. The graphics, photos and print can look very clear and bright, metallics can be incorporated into all or part of the package, and portions can be made transparent to show off the content, as well as let consumers know how much is remaining inside. In a recent example, the food company Tahoe Trail Bars switched over to flexible packaging after experiencing sluggish sales. With the help of branding consultants and the creative potential of the new packaging materials, their sales increased by 200%.
Consumers are also willing to pay more for the practical benefits of flexible packaging; they especially want packaging that is easy to store, resealable, and easy to open. About 60% of consumers would pay between 12% to 14% more for these benefits. When offered the same product in flexible or rigid packaging, one survey found that 71% of Americans preferred the product in the flexible packaging.
Reduced Production and Transportation Costs
Compared to traditional materials, the materials used in flexible packaging offer the same strength and durability at a lighter weight and smaller volume. Advances in polymer technologies have made materials more puncture resistant, better at protecting contents, and more durable when being transported. The numbers are impressive: according to research by the Flexible Packaging Association, companies that switch to flexible packaging on average reduced production costs by 57% and supply chain and transportation costs by 49%.
Reduced Food Waste
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, up to 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste. Flexible packaging has the potential to reduce that waste tremendously. The advanced barrier technologies and the ability to reseal packages extends the shelf life of food by 100% or more. These preservation benefits inspired Bare Bones Broth to not only select flexible packaging over traditional choices, but even highlight the advantages on their website.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Extracting materials uses up resources, transporting containers around burns fuel. The containers also need to be recycled or disposed of at the end of their use. In each category, flexible packaging offers significant advantages over other packaging materials.
- During production, fewer materials are needed to create the packaging. To package sixty pounds of beverage, only 1.5 pounds of flexible packaging need to be used. Compare this to 50 pounds of glass or 6 pounds of rigid plastic.
- All of that reduction in weight translates into reduced CO2 emissions when the packages are transported.
- Flexible packaging can be shipped flat when it is unfilled. This allows far fewer trucks to transport the same number of empty packages (by as much as a 26 to one ratio).
- When disposed in a landfill, flexible packing takes up less space compared to other materials.
Recycling remains a complex issue. This is in part because the great flexibility of material combinations means that there is not just one way to recycle this kind of package. But solutions are still available. Many manufacturers are adopting the voluntary How2Recycle® label in order to specify how to handle their individual packaging. Others take part in national recycling programs (such as those run by TerraCycle) that collect their packaging for recycling.
Let Apex Help You
Apex offers all of our customers customized solutions to their filling needs. It doesn’t matter whether they are just starting their business or are filling 20,000 packages a day. Call us at 219-575-7493 or send us your product so we can evaluate and discuss with you how our piston fillers can work with your flexible packaging design.