“Demand for lawn, garden and agricultural packaging in the US is forecast to grow 1.8 percent per year through 2013 to $1.7 billion” according to a 2008 report, The US Lawn, Garden & Agricultural Packaging Market. The fastest growing form of packaging in this market? “Pouches, especially stand-up types, will post the fastest gains among all lawn, garden and agricultural packaging due to their superior visual appeal, reclosability and barrier properties. Demand for pouches will come largely at the expense of smaller paper and plastic bags.”
Standup pouches are revolutionizing packaging for many industries, predominately the food and beverage industry. But this trend, which is taking over the aisles of every grocery store, is making its way into consumer sized agricultural packaging too. Seeds, commodity items, grains, and fertilizers are beginning to make pouch appearances. So what’s the big deal about standup pouches? Should you be considering them for your product?
According to an article from StandupPouches.net, which offers a line of pouches specifically for agricultural products, these pouches offer a wide variety of benefits. According to Standup, these pouches can:
- Be ordered in a variety of shapes and sizes and can even be custom die-cut to provide a uniquely shaped pouch which will allow your product to standout on the shelf. The sky’s the limit when it comes to size. While most manufacturers employ flexible packages that are relatively small in size, some adventurous marketers have decided to use this medium for extremely large packages that are then sold to wholesale stores. You can add a die-cut carry handle to help consumers carry the product. This would be a perfect application for fertilizers, bird seed or certain grain products.
- Extend the shelf life of your products. Typically made from high-grade plastic, aluminum, or a combination of the two, flexible packaging offers additional protection from outside elements, meaning that your product is better protected for longer amounts of time.
- Allow for creative merchandising of products. For example, standup pouches can either stand on a retail shelf, or hang in a peg display, opening the door to new marketing possibilities. No longer confined to boring, traditional paper packages or boxes, flexible packaging opens the door to hundreds of merchandising and marketing possibilities.
- Be made with reusable features, either with press-to-close zip seals, slide zippers, or even spouts for liquids. Because today’s consumer demands convenience, packages that are easy to use and reuse are especially successful at retail – and are becoming more popular for agricultural packaging as well.
- Designed using gusseted bottoms, which means that the package will expand when the product is placed into it, without compromising the strength of the package
- Stored flat, so most of the space in your warehouse that was once used for rigid agricultural packaging can now be used for something else. The easy-to-store convenience of flexible packaging adheres to many of the guidelines asserted by lean manufacturing principles, a business philosophy that has taken the manufacturing industry by storm in recent years.
- Reduce waste: using flexible packaging is less wasteful than other packaging methods, such as rigid plastic bottles or bag-in-a-box designs. Since more and more retailers are demanding strict adherence to environmental regulations, and because today’s consumers are extremely conscious of environmental issues, less wasteful packaging is oftentimes much more appealing.
- Allow the use of barrier materials which are strong yet pliable to keep products safe, clean and uncontaminated.
- Expand graphic design possibilities. Because these materials can be printed using advanced flexographic and rotogravure printing methods, your package can be printed with extremely vibrant colors, and very vivid, clear logos, making your product stand out even more at retail.
- Reduce space waste. Stand up pouches take up a lot less space than traditional boxes, bottles or cans. Space costs money, whether in inventory or in freight, so stand up pouches can certainly help your “bottom line”.
Pouches can provide other benefits as well. According to a Plastics News article, one company found the use of pouches reduced costs and waste by simply taking up less room:
“Pellingra said one truckload of unfilled plastic pouches can contain the same amount of products as 25 truckloads of empty glass jars; Calamusa said it typically takes 10-25 truckloads of rigid packaging to hold as much as one truckload of pouches.”
Some new pouches also offer special features hard to find in traditional agricultural packaging. For example, the Genesis Duo-Pouch, which can be made in a stand-up or pillow format and incorporates DuPont’s Surlyn ionomer in its laminations, has a frangible seal to allow wet-and-dry or wet-and-wet ingredients to be mixed by squeezing the pouch. There is also the the 1-gallon, multilaminate pouch made by Fres-co System USA Inc. of Telford, Pa., which contains a heat-sealed plastic tap that must be attached before the pouch can be hot-filled.
So if you are considering a change in agricultural packaging, want to raise your brand awareness, or want a higher ROI on your packaging, maybe the standup pouch is the solution.
EPIC is a turnkey design/build company with services in many industries. EPIC can design and automate packaging lines and processing systems in house, which allows a much faster time to market than other design/build firms. We integrate lines that can assemble, fill and seal agricultural packaging in both bulk containers and consumer sized packages, and build process systems for the cleaning, mixing, or treatment of both dry and liquid agricultural products.
For information about modular process systems, please visitwww.epicmodularprocess.com
For information about production line integration, please visitwww.epiclineintegration.com
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