The flexible packaging movement began around the 1950s and has quickly gained momentum in nearly every consumer and industrial market.
Compared to rigid packaging, flexible solutions offer distinct cost, implementation, design, and consumer experience advantages for retailers and end users.
Since flexible packaging is everywhere nowadays, we often take these formats and materials for granted. But with a closer look, we can see how flexible packaging has revolutionized how we browse, buy, and experience our favorite products in the home and beyond.
Learn more about flexible packaging and why today’s leading companies love it.
What Is Flexible Packaging?
Any package or container made of flexible, malleable materials can be considered a form of flexible packaging.
The term was initially used to distinguish easily yielding package materials from traditional rigid packaging formats like hard paperboard boxes, plastic containers, metal canisters, glass jars, tin cans, and other familiar formats.
Flexible packaging emerged in a post-war environment as scientists and industrialists pushed the boundaries of innovation. As companies rapidly patented new films and foils each year, manufacturers were eager to see how these materials held up in retail and consumer settings.
Certain flexible packaging forms were well-known, including paper wrapping and kraft bags. However, the rise of thermoplastics like polyethylene, Mylar, and aluminum foil brought flexible packaging to the mainstream and helped new brands earn consumers’ trust worldwide.
The flexible packaging industry is growing at a compound annual rate of 4.5% between 2022 and 2030. By that year, the market size is expected to reach over $373 billion, making it more than 20% of the packaging industry overall.
It’s no longer a matter of speculation or forecasting; flexible packaging is here to stay for the long haul.
What Are Some Examples of Flexible Packaging?
Examples of flexible packaging can be classified by format, material, and product type.
Familiar, flexible packaging formats include bags, pouches, wraps, films, and certain types of clamshell and blister packs. Many formats, particularly in the packaged food industry, include a mix of films and wraps with rigid structures like styrofoam and paperboard.
This hybrid packaging approach lets shoppers see products through transparent films with an added layer of physical protection.
Flexible packaging materials are also diverse, including polyester, polypropylene, high and low-density polyethylene, and stretched polyethylene variants like Mylar.
Each type of plastic offers unique barrier properties and strengths, ranging in benefits like moisture and oxygen resistance.
Other flexible materials may include thin paper bags, woven fabric bags, and different types of protective packaging materials.
Bubble wrap and foam package protections may not be the primary packaging for consumer goods. Still, they help products make their way safely to their destination and ensure safety for workers and buyers.
Trends in the flexible packaging industry will continue to change with new consumer preferences and retailer demands.
With products like food, pharmaceuticals, medical and tech components, and other specialty goods, there’s no limit to what can be achieved with flexible packaging in all its forms.
Why Do Companies Love Flexible Packaging?
We’ve explored the many materials and formats of flexible packaging, but what are the real reasons why so many brands are eager to use these packaging solutions? Here are five benefits that brands appreciate about flexible packaging.
1. High Customization Potential
For brands at all stages of development, customization is vital to standing out and earning market share. The more custom elements a brand can apply to its products and packaging, the more impact they will have on consumers overwhelmed with choice.
Flexible materials offer a much broader customization canvas than rigid formats, with everything from sizing and dimensions to printing, labeling, and extra features.
With an innovative packaging supplier like Dymapak to help bring your vision to life, there’s no limit to what you can create.
2. Strong Barrier Properties
With wraps, films, and bags, brands can keep products fresh longer thanks to exceptional barrier properties. This is essential no matter what product is being packaged, but food and sensitive medical materials benefit the most from these protections.
Products are prone to environmental factors like oxygen, moisture, light, and extreme temperatures throughout the supply chain and retail cycle.
With barrier protections to minimize the impact of these hazards, brands can be more confident in shipping their products far and wide year-round.
Certain materials offer better barriers than others, and no solution is impermeable. However, these options are vastly improved over standard rigid materials and offer more peace of mind for manufacturers and retailers alike.
3. Reduced Costs
Businesses often forget how much capital is required for packaging, shipping, storage, and processing.
These costs can add up, and any form of savings is welcome. With flexible packaging, nearly all of these expenditures are reduced, from production to distribution.
Not only is it cheaper to produce flexible packaging in large quantities, but the process also tends to be faster and more streamlined. This benefits the producer and shipping company, which can work with more reliable and accurate scheduling.
These minor logistical improvements add a better supply chain experience for everyone involved and a stronger product offer overall.
4. Safe and Compliant
Brand safety is always top of mind, especially those developing food, cleaning supplies, medical products, and other goods with marginal hazard potential.
Flexible packaging is very safe for household and industrial use, even more so with the inclusion of child-resistant features.
With leaders like Dymapak developing lab-certified child-resistant bags and other game-changing products, brands can ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.
5. Consumer Satisfaction
Last but certainly not least, flexible packaging is becoming more beloved by customers worldwide, making it a business trend that can’t be ignored.
The bandwagon effect combined with tangible benefits and loyalty shows that flexible packaging is already a consumer favorite.
Find Your Flexible Packaging Supplier Today
You don’t have to go it alone in creating optimal flexible packaging for your brand. Team up with a trusted supplier like Dymapak and make your products the best they can be.