Are Pouches the Package of the Future?


A recent study seems to suggest that pouches are more t […]

A recent study seems to suggest that pouches are more than just a packaging trend. For a number of different reasons, these packages seem poised to have a lasting impact on the entire packaging industry.
According to the study, demand for pouches will increase to more than $9 billion, just in the United States, by the year 2018. A simple stroll through your favorite grocery store will show you that pouches are not just regulated to smaller brands or specialty products, as the containers are being used by mainstream and brand name packager for everything from food and beverages, pet foods, beauty and healthcare products and even detergents and other popular household items.
So why are popular products making the move to pouch packaging? In part, the pouch seems to add more aesthetic appeal than some of the other containers being used. Where bottles and other items use a label to convey information and add appeal, the pouch allows the entire package to display logos, nutritional numbers and other information, basically doing away with the need for a label. And while pretty matters, the advantages do not stop there.
Pouches are a lightweight, easily portable package, using less material than bottles and alternative containers. The reduced weight allows more packaging to be shipped for a lower cost, impacting the bottom line for packagers before the packaging process even begins. In other words, pouches may not only look better on the shelf, but they have the potential to lower the cost of packaging as well.

The increased popularity of the pouch will impact more than just the packager of a product though. For those in the packaging machinery industry, the move to pouches means designing and manufacturing new equipment to handle these containers. The plastic bottle, in many different shapes and sizes, has arguably been the standard in the packaging industry for the last couple decades. More packaging machinery than not has been built during this time for some variation of this container. The move to pouches, and other alternative containers, marks a substantial shift in the packaging industry, and in the machinery used to package products.
While inline packaging systems and rotary systems remain popular packaging lines for the plastic bottles, new and innovative machinery will undoubtedly emerge as the package of choice shifts. While some of the machinery being used today may require simple modification to run a pouch versus a plastic bottle, as the pouch evolves, so will the equipment used to package products in the pouch. Should the move away from the plastic bottle continue in the future, R & D in the packaging industry will become even more challenging and important than it is today.
While the desires of both the consumer and the packager will always play a large part in the type of container used to package any product, the process of packaging must remain affordable and efficient for any package to succeed. And of course, the pouch and plastic bottle are far from the only containers used on the vast array of products available in today's world. Custom packaging machinery will always be manufactured to handle special projects and packages, and a new, even yet unknown, container may overtake the pouch and plastic bottle based on environmental factors, convenience, cost and other factors. But for now, it appears clear that the pouch has moved out of the realm of a special container and, if not there already, is soon to be an industry standard.

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