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The Sustainability Case for Pouches

By: Matt Zoeller
Posted: May 31, 2013, from the June 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Also, pouch filling utilizes continuous film that is printed with graphic label content using offset-press techniques. In the filling process, a machine forms a containment structure on at least three sides, the product is filled into this preformed void, and then the opening is sealed for a permanent structure. The final products drop onto a conveyor where they are packed for shipment, and the form/fill/seal pouch filling machine occupies a very small footprint. Compared to multi-stage packaging lines used for other package types, the process requires less energy, industrial space, and heating and cooling of the workspace. This lower energy cost benefits the manufacturer, the brand and society at large.

Additionally, marketing demands need not take a back seat when pouches are employed for packaging beauty products as well. The label graphic space on a pouch can be greater compared to other packages of similar SKU size. In essence, the entire pouch package is a label, as every part can be imprinted with graphics and copy. Using a standard three-color offset press, graphic images can be transferred to film, helping to grab consumer interest. Thus the pouch allows more space, explicit graphics, copy area, and pop on the store shelf or website. Incorporating redeemable coupons, hang-tags, POP stocking holes, or shelf talkers is a simple matter of integrating these concepts into the film layout and adjusting the machine operating parameters.

Ergonomically, pouches can be easy to open and close as well. Though dispensing caps have made bottles easier to use, this package still requires strength to squeeze or shake the product out of the container. Many tubes offer almost the same ease of use as pouches, though the flexibility of the pouch allows the economical consumer to dispense the entire contents easier than the contents of a tube. As ease of use gains greater importance in the beauty marketplace in aging societies, pouches can be expected to take on a greater market share because of these changing needs.

The Future of Packaging?

Given the many advantages of the pouch in capturing consumer interest and presenting a pleasant experience for them, this packaging option definitely merits consideration by beauty brands.

But are pouches really the wave of the future? They already seem to match some of the paradigm shifts in consumer behavior, and bottles, jars and cans were around for centuries before the pouch showed up.

However, it may be that pouches are an older package archetype than we realize. Early man learned to use animal bladders to package and transport drinking water, no doubt appreciating the lightweight, flexible structure and ease of dispensing—much like today’s consumer does when using a pouch. Perhaps a paradigm shift to pouches has been underway for some time.

Matt Zoeller is vice president of product development for Paket Corporation, a contract manufacturer specializing in the compounding and packaging of HBA products into pouches and tubes based in Chicago. He can be reached at mzoeller@paketcorp.com.