Pouch Packaging Energizes Retail Purchases for Consumers

Pouches continue to be the 'it' package for food processors and a growing number of beverage companies.

By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor

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"You just line it up as best you can and run your hand across it, and it seals back up again," Kluger says. The technology makes resealing easy for older consumers. And for younger ones, "the technology is what's cool about it," he says, "playing with it, ripping it open and sealing it back up again."

Lundberg's stand-up pouch carries the No. 7 recycling symbol, the catch-all designation for "other" plastics, including multipolymer flexible materials. In this case, the material is a multilayer film containing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH).

"It's one of the first pouches that does have a recyclable symbol attached to it," Kluger says, warning, however, that not all municipalities recycle No. 7 materials. "It's kind of a cart-before-the-horse thing, where the more items that have a No. 6 or No. 7, the more municipalities will invest in the processing to recycle that type of material."

In addition to dazzling colors and matte/gloss printing, the pouches feature transparent windows on the front panel and sides so consumers can see the product.

Like the Campbell's Skillet Sauces pouch, the Lundberg package won a silver award in this year's FPA competition. Lundberg worked with Peel Plastic Products Ltd., Brampton, Ontario, to develop the package.

Let the Good Time Beverages roll

Beverage companies also are taking pouch packaging in new directions. Earlier this year, Good Time Beverages LLC, Downey, Calif., launched what it describes as the world's first straight-vodka pouch pack.

Called Bob & Stacy's Ultra Premium Vodka, the product is filled into a 200ml stand-up pouch dubbed the FlexPouch. The American-made vodka, which earned an 88-point rating from The Tasting Panel magazine, is sold individually and in four-packs. The pouch has a reclosable, tamper-evident plastic spout, and the corrugated four-pack carton features a die-cut window so consumers can see and touch the pouches inside.

The target market for the vodka pouch — which sports a shapely profile, op-art graphics and a printed border simulating a line of rivets — is women 25-45 years old. "They're buying it because of the convenience factor and the pricing, and they're thinking about various uses," says Bob Whyte, CEO of Good Time Beverages. "The uses could be everything from golf to their RV to the backyard to going to watch Jimmy play softball."

The vodka pouch is made from a four-layer laminate of polyethylene and aluminum foil. In the package graphics, the foil's silver color is used as a fourth color, complementing white, blue and black ink. Stacy Hong, Good Time Beverages' CFO and creative director, designed the package graphics; Whyte designed the pouch format.

Good Time Beverages makes and fills the pouches using custom-built machinery from Hongju Machinery Co., Ltd., Guangdong, China. The pouch-making machine attaches the spout to the pouch and seals all seams, then the filling equipment fills through the plastic spout.

Some beverage companies take a different tack, leaving the top of the pouch unsealed and filling through that opening before completing the seal. But this approach can cause leakage, some say, which is why Bob & Stacy's is filled through the spout instead.

In addition to its merchandising pizazz and portability, the vodka pouch provides environmental advantages. Good Time Beverages estimates the flexible package has an 80 percent smaller carbon footprint than conventional beverage packages and generates 90 percent less landfill waste. Additionally, the foil used to make the pouch film contains roughly 65 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum.

"The world does not need another vodka," Whyte remarks. "What it needs is a better delivery method. That's what we think we bring to the party."

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