Flexible packaging is a term used to describe the different types of material that is used to make easily yielding, or shape-changing packages for products. In recent years it has been a rapidly advancing industry which is evidenced by the wide variety of food products that come in such materials, from chip bags to Capri Sun pouches. When you think of it in those terms, it becomes much easier to understand. What many people don't realize is why exactly flexible packaging has largely become the standard in the container packaging industry. Here are three important factors that have led to its growth.
Developments in plastics has provided for one of the best food packaging materials when it comes to protecting foods from contamination and retaining freshness. According to industry experts every pound of plastic packaging reduces food waste by about 1.7 pounds. It's generally very easy to store, too, with things like resealable lids and bags that can be folded.
The best argument for flexible packaging products probably lies in this category. Two pounds of plastic can carry about 10 gallons of liquid. In comparison it would take 3 pounds of aluminum to do the same. To show an even greater discrepancy, consider glass jars. For a long time these were the standard for transporting goods to stores and homes. It would require 26 trucks to ship the same amount of products stored in glass jars vs. one single truck if flexible packaging was utilized. Overall the material weighs less, is cheaper to make, and more convenient to handle than any of its competitors.
In a more macro sense, flexible packaging is good for the economy. The U.S. plastic industry alone employs more than a million people alone and generates about $375 billion. Plastic packaging companies are just one part of the industry though. Overall, the global flexible packaging market is growing at a rate of about 3.4% every year, and will soon reach almost $250 billion.
While it is certainly not the most glamorous of industries, the flexible packaging market has proven to be a force in both the U.S. and global economies and lifestyle with no signs of slowing. There are sure to be advancements in the materials used and innovative new techniques that will only increase the usage and efficiency of these unique products.