Flexible plastic packaging has been growing in popularity and is gaining a greater market share each year.
For most consumer goods companies, it is currently the most popular material for preserving and marketing their products.
In recent years it has exceeded all expectations. 2022 market reports on flexible plastic packaging gave several reasons for the unprecedented increase in sales:
- The increase in E-commerce is boosting sales of this packaging.
- The health industry has recognised the benefits of flexible plastic, due to its barriers and durability.
- The sustainability of flexible packaging is also highly attractive for companies.
- Investment in R&D has improved the quality and properties of this packaging, making it an even more attractive option.
The reports have reached several conclusions. According to Flexible Packaging Market de Future Market Insights, one of the expectations is that the world flexible plastic packaging market will grow at an annual rate of 4.77% over the next few years.
This same report calculates the current volume of the flexible packaging market at 257 billion dollars. The forecast is for it to exceed 325 billion in 2028.
If the sectors that benefit most from this growth remain the same, the food and drinks industry will continue to be the driving force behind sales.
WHAT IS FLEXIBLE PACKAGING AND WHY IS IT SO SPECIAL?
Understanding why flexible plastic is more popular than metal, glass, paper and cardboard, and even rigid plastic, is easy when you consider the properties, specifications and general advantages of the product.
Flexible plastic is any plastic consisting of one or more plastic films. This means the packaging has several advantages:
- It is tough and durable. It withstands transport and handling well, and is resistant to tears and impact.
- It improves food preservation. The properties of the product remain intact longer than with other packaging materials.
- It has high barriers. The packaging incorporates barriers to gases, aromas and light. Without these, food deteriorates much more quickly.
- It can be used in different production processes. Flexible plastic packaging can be used in retort processes, among others.
- It complies with legal regulations. Most notably, it meets the requirements of Commission Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011, on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, as well as the requirements for substances authorised for use in this packaging. Other regulations that must be complied with include Framework regulation 1935/2004, Commission Regulation (EC) 2023/2006, and even food-safety standards, such as BRC Packaging (British Retail Consortium).
FLEXIBLE PLASTIC: SUSTAINABILITY
We can explore some of these general benefits of flexible packaging to get a clearer picture of why this material is so popular.
Sustainability is one of the principal advantages for the following reasons.
LESS ENERGY IS USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF FLEXIBLE PLASTIC
Plastic materials require less energy than others, meaning energy costs are reduced, along with the associated polluting emissions.
This is one of the main reasons why SPG has a working philosophy based on sustainability. Reducing energy consumption is one of the most effective ways to make any industry more sustainable.
FLEXIBLE PLASTIC GENERATES LESS WASTE
This material generates less waste than other types of plastic and other materials.
However, thanks to policies on waste reduction, emissions and chemical release, we can also optimise our positive contribution to improving the environment.
Generating less waste is a good thing. Fewer waste materials means less landfill. And by reducing the waste taken to landfill, we are also reducing the emissions from the transport that takes it there, as well as the possible harmful effects on humans and the environment caused by its decomposition.
FLEXIBLE PLASTIC REDUCES YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
One of the main goals of all environmentally aware companies is to reduce their carbon footprint.
Flexible plastic helps you work towards this, by reducing eco-taxes and the cost of raw materials, optimising transport and employing recycled materials.
FLEXIBLE PLASTIC: COMBATING FOOD WASTE
Another of the benefits of flexible plastic is its contribution to the reduction in food waste, by protecting and preserving food for longer.
The toughness of these materials means fully hermetic seals can be used to protect products from contamination.
In addition to its exceptional properties, one of the advantages of flexible plastic is the possibility of different formats. For example, caps and zipper closures can be added, or the packaging can be made resealable.
These options help the product remain in perfect condition after opening, meaning food waste is reduced even further.
Dumping uneaten food ending in landfill leads to the mass production of methane gas. Methane is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that drive global warming and have a very negative impact on the environment.
ADVANTAGES OF PLASTIC PACKAGING FOR USERS
It’s also important to remember that flexible plastic packaging is designed to offer an optimal user experience.
The fact this experience is better with this type of packaging than others is one of the reasons why they are so prominant on the market.
The main advantages of flexible plastic packaging are as follows:
- It ensures hugely versatile packaging that is easy to handle and can be adapted to any production process.
- It is highly customisable with the option of adding handles, closures and caps, as well as the possibility of producing different shapes.
- It allows more attractive print designs than other materials.
- It is lighter, meaning it is easier for users to transport and store.
The team at SPG can advise you on the best packaging for your business. Find out how we can cover your practical and sustainable needs, and to ensure the best possible experience for your customers. Contact us and discover the best materials for packaging your products.