Rollstock packaging manufacturers usually create and market their flexible packaging products directly to businesses and other retailers without the consumer ever really knowing what it is. Essentially, it is any sort of material used for packaging that comes on a roll, typically some kind of plastic. One of the reasons more and more businesses have switched to plastics is efficiency.
It only takes 1.5 pounds of flexible plastic to carry about 10 gallons of a liquid or beverage. This has helped the flexible packaging market grow from approximately $74 million in 2012 to an estimated nearly $100 million by 2018. For those not part of the approximately one million workers the U.S. plastics industry employs ($375 billion economy), here are three every day examples of roll stock film and how it's used.
- Gift Wrapping: Not usually made from plastic, but gift wrapping paper still can be considered rollstock packaging as it comes on a roll and ultimately will be used to package presents.
- Vendor Wraps: Walk into the backroom of virtually any grocery store or supermarket chain and you're likely to find large plastic wrap rollstock packaging. The reason for this is usually so that vendors and the in-store employees can wrap up skids of product in the backroom before moving it around and risking spills. Many dairy employees also use this to wrap up pallets of empty milk crates to send back to the distributor.
- Meat Packaging: Anytime you buy a piece of fresh meat from a grocery store you're probably also buying a piece of rollstock packaging. That's where the clear film that protects the meat from contamination generally comes from. Some butchers still use only paper to wrap their meat but most supermarkets have phased this out for pure plastics.
As technology and materials continue to improve and advance, you never know what might take the place of rollstock packaging, but for now it's a fairly important part of many everyday lives.