The advantages of using flexible materials in product packaging

January 26, 2023

The packaging industry’s range of solutions and materials is endless. In addition to ensuring sustainability, which is a non-negotiable for the industry and end consumers, choosing exactly the right type of packaging for your product is key to guaranteeing optimum preservation conditions and maximising customisation.  The properties of flexible materials render them among the best options for food industry packaging and for manufacturing pouches. 

This article takes a closer look at some of these properties and the best flexible materials for manufacturing packaging

What are flexible materials?

Flexible packaging refers to packaging made using multi-layer films that can be printed. The materials are referred to as ‘complex’ materials because they are made from three, four or even five layers of material and/or films, even if they appear to be just a single layer. The different layers afford packaging the properties that many different packaged products require.

Flexible materials need to have certain characteristics that make them resistant to all manner of mishaps. The following are some of the key features of packaging for the food industry.

  • Oxygen, water vapour, aroma and light protection barrier properties
  • The ability to seal. Many food products are packaged using pressure and heat seal systems. The sealing temperature depends on the plastic polymer on which the welds are shaped.
  • Product descriptions, ingredients and aspects of brand marketing on packaging must be incredibly customisable and precise, so the ink needs to set perfectly on the packaging material.
  • Mechanical resistance to low temperatures. Certain foods need to be refrigerated or even frozen and the packaging must be capable of withstanding these low temperatures.
  • Resistance to perforation. Some products, such as foods that contain bones, can have sharp edges. This poses a risk of damage to packaging during handling and transportation. The packaging material must be able to resist damage and ensure the properties of the packaging are not compromised.

Material flexible SPG

What types of products are packaged using flexible materials?

Flexible materials are used across many industries, but the food industry is one of the most demanding of all. Flexible materials are used for products such as yoghurt and smoothies; when the packaging comes with a lid, products can be consumed on the go.

Flexible materials are a wonderful choice for many different types of packaging and, when it comes to customisation, the options are endless. This is best understood by looking at examples of types of packaging and the most appropriate flexible material for each one.

Types of trays 

Food tray lids are some of the most commonly-used flexible material packaging options in the food industry. Their properties mean they keep foods such as fish and meat, among others, in perfect condition. These are some of our most popular materials. 

  • SOL EFFICIENT: This high-barrier option is one of the best for manufacturing tray lids. It can be used with rice, biscuits, sliced cold meats, etc. It is resistant and has some excellent properties that facilitate thickness reductions. This helps to bring costs down.
  • R-CLOSING HB EFFICIENT is one of the most in-demand flexible materials. This high-barrier, resealable material is ideal for sliced cold meats and cheeses because it helps to extend the useful life of the product once the packaging has been opened. The properties of this product mean it closes gently but firmly, helping to preserve products in optimum condition.


Reels for shaping bags on VFFS and HFFS machinery

Bags manufactured using VFFS and HFFS machinery are also among the most popular ways of using flexible materials in the food industry. They tend to be used for snacks, dried fruit, rice, sweets, coffee and other products of this kind.  

Material flexible SPG

Stand-up pouches for contemporary consumption habits

Stand up pouches made from flexible materials afford producers the widest range of customisation options, including on-the-go formats and features, such as Doypack packaging, k-style bottoms and side gussets

Stand up pouches can come with a zip or Velcro opening to stand up pouches, which makes them particularly versatile.  Since they can be resealed by consumers at any time, they are perfect for packaging fresh foods, snacks and coffee, and they look great on shop shelves because they can stand up without the need for additional rigid supports.

PP HB ECO is an incredibly remarkable material. It is made almost entirely from polypropylene, so it is very recyclable. It can also withstand pasteurisation and sterilisation processes and can even be used in the microwave. These packages tend to come with a zip closure or lid to make them easier to use.

Last of all, an additional popular material for use in the food packaging market is PE HB ECO, a recyclable high-barrier material that is compatible with pasteurisation, hot-fill and microwave treatments. It was designed specifically with sauces, liquids, rice or legume-based ready meals, among others, in mind. 

These are just some examples of our flexible material options. If you would like to know more about these and others in our range, or if you would like to understand which are the most efficient and sustainable choices for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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At SP Group we optimise our production processes to provide the most efficient service to large industry. Many multinational companies already trust our ability to meet their flexible packaging needs on a daily basis.
If you would like to know how your company can benefit from our services, send us your details and one of our sales advisors will contact you. Or, if you prefer, consult the contact details of your area representative.