The flexible packaging trends seem to have a longer life span than most other trends as they signal the way this package will stay. The following are some of the latest trends in soft packaging that we are familiar with. The paper draws on the future that flexible packaging has brought new forms of thinking to the sustainable development of packaging.
First, flexible packaging penetrates into new product areas
It is undeniable that in just a few years, flexible packaging has tried to sweep across the entire product spectrum. The most classic examples include canned tuna and pet food. High-temperature retort pouches are now commonplace after decades of use of metal cans in these areas. Recently, in the field of baby food, more and more glass bottles are being replaced by high-temperature cooking bags (in addition to thermoformed trays). Flexible packaging has even been applied in the fertilizer industry, where its main feature is resealability.
What will be next? The field of viscous condiment packaging will be a promising prospect because they can effectively be squeezed out of soft bags, and in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, this packaging has been popular for many years. Health and beauty products have also ushered in the maturity of packaging conversion – think about shampoos and hand sanitizers. The product areas dominated by metal cans or glass bottles are also affected by packaging conversion.
Cereals are a “Holy Grail” for the soft pack supplier community, and although flexible packaging has been immersed in high-end granola and low-end cereals, experts still agree with the grain producer's existing packaging. A large investment in equipment to quickly convert packaging forms at any time. Considering the advantages of recyclable cartons made from renewable energy sources throughout the application process, the process of replacing cartons should be more complicated. Although there is a form of packaging converted into flexible packaging, this does not mean that any particular country's consumers will accept this conversion, especially in the United States. In other words, the most thorough trend is that brand owners now take a holistic approach to innovation. From now on, new packaging structures or forms, including flexible packaging, will come from all corners of the world.
Second, the packaging bag has a profound impact
The soft bag structure can be customized, and the purpose of the customization is to meet a wide range of barrier requirements, with the emergence of a series of new product applications: liquid, viscous, powdery, granular, particulate, etc. The development of soft bags will involve diversified markets, including food and beverages, cosmetics, health products, pet food, automobile manufacturing, medicine, and agriculture. However, the filling speed of soft bags has not fully met the filling standards of traditional container types, but the gap between the two is approaching, especially in the field of dry packaging.
Third, more high-temperature cooking packaging
A high-temperature cooking package is a package that is "cooked" for a sufficient period of time after it has been filled, at a temperature high enough to kill bacteria and microorganisms that are prone to deterioration of the food. Metal cans and glass jars are the most traditional forms of high-temperature cooking. There are several factors driving the development of high-temperature cooking flexible packaging. Compared to metal cans and glass can packaging, flexible packaging is easier to open and lighter in weight, and it is understood that the environmental impact of flexible packaging is smaller than that of metal cans and glass cans. In addition, it not only greatly reduces the loss of deformation and breakage, but also opens up innovations in packaging cooking capacity or food packaging. For example, canned tuna can now be packaged without the need for additional water and oil.
Furthermore, since the abuse of the heating cycle is reduced for sterilization, the food from the high-temperature cooking package is usually tasted more delicious. The flat geometric design of the flexible package is intended to mean that the food is closest to the packaging surface, and does not need to be heated for a long time and does not need to be too high. The temperature of the food in the middle ensures sterilization before receiving the most suitable time/temperature. The problem of creases and breakage caused by aluminum foil and some old coating techniques is also avoided. These structures also offer the potential for microwave-heatable soft bags.
Fourth, shaped packaging
At this stage, the forming/filling/sealing packaging can produce more bag shapes and styles than before. Shaped packaging is important for consumer packaging companies that are eager to make packaging more prominent on the shelf. Although most of the shaped packages have appeared in other countries, this form of packaging, which has been cut into two-dimensional shapes and has curved shapes, has been around for many years. Equipment manufacturers are also working to improve equipment for the production of cones or three-dimensional shapes of soft bags. The challenge now is how to better control the design of more shapes on an inherent basis.
V. Easy to open and re-seal options are becoming more and more popular
Opening treatments and closures 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 pouch bag, and liquid bags with mouths. Corresponding mechanical equipment has also improved a lot, increasing the ability to add these easy-to-open resealable applications online when filling and sealing, and to minimize downtime issues.
Sixth, sustainable packaging presents a new form
It is precisely because sustainability and the packaging industry are closely related, many people exaggerate its recycling capacity, but there are other important factors that also reduce the carbon emissions of packaging types. For example, soft bags provide great energy savings both in production and in transportation. Here we compare rigid and soft bags, and you'll find that a truck-loaded soft bag holds the equivalent of more than 15-25 truck empty rigid containers. Packers can also save thousands of dollars in packaging material costs and back-end packaging operating systems. The savings in packaging operating systems are mainly due to the simplification of packaging systems, such as the elimination of labeling machines and capping machines.
Seven, waste energy conversion is getting more and more mature
Tracking successful records in Europe and Asian countries, waste energy conversion, or simply WTE, has become an increasingly viable option in North America for the end of life of flexible packaging materials. With the advancement of municipal incineration technology, some problems related to harmful emissions have been solved, and US 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 local power grids and related agencies that can help reduce energy costs within the community, correspondingly, this may require focusing on larger goals, such as compliance. Public responsibility enthusiasm, etc.
Eight, transparent high barrier film
The new generation of transparent films and coatings are beginning to have barrier properties of aluminum foil and metalized films, which provides a new opportunity for those delicious products to be presented.
Nine, multi-layer coextrusion
Although it doesn't sound intuitive, the addition of layers of flexible packaging structures can actually lead to economic and functional improvements. So how do you improve? First, you must consider the more precise control of the number of layers. Three to five film coextrusion lines are often limited by the size and mold design of the extruder. More and more processors are turning to seven- to nine-layer coextrusion lines that offer us more flexibility to meet the required functionality, thickness and cost savings because the product is not over-engineered. structure. In this respect, one technique is to use a resin that is not very expensive as the main layer. Another technique is to split the barrier layer into two thinner layers, one of which is used as a “backup” to prevent the pinhole from penetrating the other layer. This method also increases the amount of material in the interface because the material must cross-penetrate, which reduces the permeability and ultimately achieves the barrier. Several techniques for splitting barrier materials into multiple layers are now being introduced in large numbers, and the data show that the barrier properties of new materials are well improved in this way