Everything You Need To Know About Flexible Packaging

Feb 14, 2019 | Blog

With growing environmental problems, plastic packaging is considered to be the villain of today’s society. To curb the usage of plastic many FMCG manufacturers are adopting flexible packaging and their popularity is surging continuously.

What is Flexible Packaging Material?

According to the Flexible packaging association, flexible packaging is a package or any part of the package that can easily change its shape. It is a non-rigid structure used to protect products.

If you are a retailer, manufacturer or anyone related to FMCG industry you must have definitely heard of flexible packaging materials. Flexibility is a key quality any industrialist looks when dealing with packaging products.

From ensuring the safety of food product, ease of transportation, increasing the shelf life of a product, barrier protection and the ability to mould itself to deliver highly customizable packaging the advantages of using flexible packaging are many. The FMCG and packaging industry is continuously advancing its reliability on flexible packaging material.

Benefits of Flexible Packaging

The various advantages of flexible packaging are making it popular in the packaging industry. Ease of transportation, customizable designs, extending the shelf is some of the few benefits provided by flexible films.

Flexible Packaging is versatile

Flexible packaging is highly versatile and it helps the product stand out when placed on a market shelf. The packaging can be aligned as per the needs of the product and not the other way around.

Flexible Packaging is durable than traditional packaging 

Flexible packaging is durable than the traditional packaging solution with enhanced protection against force and pressure. This feature decreases the risk of products getting damaged during transportation.

High Scope for Customizable products

Flexible packaging design offers us the ability to create customizable products as per the needs of the client. This helps brands to gain an edge over their competitors by leveraging creativity to attract customer and boost sales.

Reduced Production cost

Compared to traditional packaging like glass and plastic, flexible packaging takes less energy and raw material to manufacture. This is a great deal for FMCG manufacturers since they get more volume of packaging with the same economic input.

Environment-Friendly

Perhaps the greatest benefit of flexible packaging is that they are highly recyclable and reusable. This ability is making packaging retailers and manufacturers adopt flexible packaging films so widely. Everyone wants to be a part of something greater good and flexible packaging provides an excellent opportunity to do so.

Types of Flexible Packaging Material you Should Adopt:

Now that you understand the advantages of flexible packaging, let us discuss the various types of flexible packaging material available and then what type of packaging material is perfect for your product needs.

Polyolefin

This material is durable, versatile and approved by the FDA as food-safe. It finds its application in various FMCG industries including food, beverages, industrial packaging, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. Its versatility enables its application even in industries like cosmetics, multimedia, packaging of sports goods and toys.

The material is 100% recyclable, excellent tensile strength and propagation-to-tear; it does not get affected by varying temperature conditions.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

One of the most popular materials used in the packaging industry, also approved by the FDA for food contact.  Its cost-effectiveness, ability to withstand a spectrum of temperatures, moisture resisting qualities and its ability to be moulded by all thermoplastic methods has made them popular in the FMCG retails and manufacturing.

The most common uses of  High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) includes the manufacturing of plastic bottles, toys, chemical containers and many household products like shampoo bottles and other personal care items.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) material is mainly used in film coating for both packaging and non-packaging application. Other application includes extrusion coatings and injection moulding process.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) finds its largest usage in the film market with 55% of its global consumption is applied for food and non-packaging application.

Food application includes the wrapping of meat and poultry products, frozen food items, snacks and baked goods. The non-packaging application includes garment bags, waste bin liners, garbage bags, construction and agriculture applications.

Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)

The popularity of Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is because of its higher tensile strength and puncture resistance than its rival Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE).  This has allowed packaging manufacturers to produce thin films without sacrificing tensile strength.

Since LLDPE is not an easy material to process it is often blended with LDPE to improve its stretching properties.

In food application, flexible packaging is used to coat materials which protect liquid foods in containers and in paperboard packaging.

In non-food application, it is primarily used in injection molding sector and has high demand to produce kitchen accessories, garden products, luggage and furniture parts etc.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PTE)

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PTE) is a general purpose plastic which belongs to the polyester family. They are popular for their exceptional properties such as mechanical, thermal, chemical resistance and dimensional stability.

PET is highly environment-friendly and has the number one spot as the most recycled thermoplastic.

PET has good gas and moisture barrier properties, it has higher distortion temperature, it is practically shatter resistant and is able to replace glass in certain conditions. It is also held as safe for contact with food and beverages by the FDA and is widely used as a packaging material in various FMCG industries.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, Vinyl)

 Probably the most economical and versatile flexible material and finds its application in various sectors including construction, health care, electronics, automobile and other sectors.

The versatility of a Polyvinyl can be proved by its ability to be rigid when manufacturing industrial pipes, flexible when used as a plastic wrap and thin when used as a wall covering material.  It is durable, dependable and can easily protect the product inside including food items, beverages and medicinal products.

Wrapping Up

The uses and benefits of flexible packaging are known to every FMCG manufacturer and retailer and those who are still unaware of its abilities will hopefully realize it soon. With so many types of flexible packaging available the manufacturers need to choose the one suitable for their needs.

Reducing cost through thoughtful and innovative packaging is the priority of today’s FMCG industrialists and taking a step towards adopting Flexible packaging is a great way to begin.

Disclaimer – “Views expressed in the blogs, are exclusive thoughts of the author and are not necessarily aligned to Parakh Group’s policies”.