9 New Trends in Flexible Packaging Industry
Most trends are constantly changing before you notice them. Flexible packaging trends seem to have a longer life span than most other trends because they signal that this form of packaging will stay here. Here are some of the latest trends in flexible packaging that we are familiar with:
1. Easy to open and resealable options are becoming more and more popular
Opening treatment and capping are more widely used than before. These applications include special linear tear strips, resealable zippers that can be opened without tearing the top of the flexible bag, and liquid bags with spouts. The corresponding mechanical equipment has also improved a lot, improving the ability to add these easily resealable applications online during filling and sealing, and minimized the problem of downtime.
2. Transparent high barrier film
The new generation of transparent films and coated films have gradually begun to have the barrier properties of aluminium foil and metalized films, which provides a new opportunity for those delicious products to be displayed, while also avoiding the problems caused by aluminium foil and some old coating technologies. These structures also provide the potential for microwave-heatable flexible bags.
3. Flexible packaging penetrates into a brand-new product field
It is undeniable that in just a few years, flexible packaging has tried to sweep the entire product field. The most classic examples include canned tuna and pet food. After decades of use of metal cans in these areas, high-temperature cooking retort pouches have become common. Furthermore, in the baby food field recently, more and more glass bottles are being replaced by high-temperature retort pouches (in addition to thermoformed trays). Flexible packaging has even been used in the fertilizer industry, where its main feature is resealability.
What will come next? The field of viscous condiment packaging will be a development prospect because they can be effectively squeezed out of flexible bags, and in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, this kind of packaging has been popular for many years. . Health and beauty products have also ushered in the ripe time for packaging conversion-think about shampoos and hand sanitizers. Those product areas dominated by metal cans or glass bottles have been affected by packaging conversion.
Cereals can be described as a “holy grail” for flexible packaging suppliers. Although flexible packaging has been immersed in high-end granola and low-end cereal foods, experts still agree with cereal producers in existing packaging. This practice of investing heavily in equipment to quickly switch packaging forms at any time. Considering the advantages of recyclable carton made from renewable energy in the whole application process, the process of replacing carton should be more complicated. Although there is a form of packaging converted into flexible packaging, this does not mean that consumers in any particular country will accept this conversion, especially in the United States. In other words, the most thorough trend is that brand owners now adopt a holistic approach to innovation. From now on, new packaging structures or forms, including flexible packaging, will come from all corners of the world.
4. Multi-layer coextrusion
Although it may not sound intuitive, the addition of layers of flexible packaging structure can actually lead to economic and functional improvements. So how can it be improved? First, more precise control of the number of layers must be considered. Three- to five-layer film co-extrusion lines are often limited by the size of the extruder and die design. More and more processors are turning to seven- to nine-layer co-extrusion lines, which can provide us with greater flexibility to meet the required functionality, thickness and cost savings because the product is not over-designed structure. In this regard, one technique is to use less expensive resin as the main layer, and the other technique is to split the barrier layer into two thinner layers, using one as a “backup” to prevent pinholes from penetrating the other layer . Using this method also increases the number of materials at the interface, because the materials must cross-permeate, which reduces the permeability and ultimately achieves the purpose of barrier. Several techniques for splitting the barrier material into multiple layers are now being introduced in large numbers, and the data shows that the barrier properties of the new material are improved in this way.
5. Shaped packaging
At this stage, the forming / filling / sealing packaging can produce more bag shapes and different styles than before. Shaped packaging is important for consumer goods packaging companies that are eager to make packaging more prominent on the shelves. Although most special-shaped packages have appeared in other countries, this type of packaging, which has been cut into a two-dimensional shape and has a curved shape, has been around for many years. Equipment manufacturers are also working to improve the equipment used to produce tapered or three-dimensional flexible bags. The current challenge is how to control more designs on an inherent basis.
6. More high-temperature cooking packaging
High-temperature cooking package is a kind of packaging, after it is filled, it is placed in a high enough temperature to be “cooked” for a long enough time, which will kill bacteria and microorganisms that are easy to deteriorate the food. Both metal cans and glass cans are the most traditional high-temperature cooking and packaging forms. Several factors have promoted the development of high-temperature cooking flexible packaging. Compared with metal cans and glass cans, flexible packaging is easier to open and lighter in weight, and it is understood that the impact of flexible packaging on the environment is smaller than that of metal cans and glass cans. In addition, it not only greatly reduces the loss of deformation and crushing, but also opens up innovations in packaging and cooking capabilities or food packaging. For example, canned tuna can now be used in sealed packaging without the need for water and oil.
In addition, due to the reduction of abuse of heating cycles for sterilization, food from high-temperature cooking and packaging usually tastes more delicious. The flat geometric design of the flexible packaging is intended to be closest to the surface of the packaging and does not need to be heated for a long time or too high. The temperature, the food in the middle can ensure sterilization before receiving the most suitable time / temperature.
7. Packaging bags have far-reaching impact
The flexible bag structure can be customized. The purpose of customization is to meet a wide range of barrier requirements. With the emergence of a series of new product applications: liquid, viscous, powder, granular, particulate, etc., The development of flexible bags will involve diversified markets, including food and beverages, cosmetics, health products, pet food, automobile manufacturing, medicine, and agriculture. However, the filling speed of flexible bags has not yet fully met the filling standards of those traditional container types, but the gap between the two is constantly closing, especially in the field of dry goods packaging.
8. Sustainable packaging presents a new form
Because sustainability is closely related to the packaging industry, many people exaggerate its recycling capacity, but there are other important factors that also reduce the carbon emissions of packaging types. For example, flexible bags provide great energy-saving capabilities both during production and during transportation. Here we compare the rigid container with the flexible bag. You will find that the product contained in one truck of flexible bag is equivalent to the transport volume of more than 15-25 empty truck rigid containers. Packers can also save tens of thousands of dollars in the cost of packaging materials and post-packaging operating systems. The savings in packaging operating systems are mainly due to the simplification of packaging systems, such as eliminating labeling machines and capping machines.
9. Waste energy conversion is becoming more and more mature
Tracking successful records in European and Asian countries, waste energy conversion, or WTE for short, has become an increasingly viable option for flexible packaging materials at the end of life in North America. With the advancement of municipal incineration technology, some problems related to harmful emissions have been solved. American companies will support and strive to convert waste into electrical energy, synthetic gas, fuel and recyclable materials. WTE can reduce air emissions, reduce landfill load, reduce energy use and save costs. In addition, by reducing municipal solid waste and the energy generated, and selling it to the local power grid, as well as relevant agencies within the community that can help reduce energy costs, but correspondingly, this may require attention to larger goals such as Meet the enthusiasm of public responsibility.