Years ago, paper, glass, metal, aluminum and cellophane were the major packaging options. Innovation and technology have led to the development of flexible packaging substrates that provide moisture and oxygen barriers, can be printed, and create lightweight packaging that includes clarity, strength, product protection, extended shelf life, and the ability to be resealed and microwaved.
Globally, pouches account for the majority of the flexible packaging used and are the fastest growing segment. Pouches have grown to include many of the products in our grocery stores today – products that didn’t exist only a few short years ago. It is hard to remember when the grocery store shelves weren’t lined with pouches filled with frozen food, sauces, soups and laundry detergents - replacements for cans, bottles and jars.
Consumers are conscious of the products they purchase and the packaging that holds and protects those products. They are seeking the convenience, extended shelf life, and sustainability features that pouches provide.
Pouches make thousands of products more convenient for consumers. The popularity of pouches is driven by their flexibility and easy to carry, lightweight nature. Consumer’s lifestyles are busier than ever, and they want the products they consume to be delivered quickly, consumed easily and disposed of efficiently.
Until recently, flexible pouches were strictly throwaways, making them impractical for producers and consumers committed to sustainable packaging. Cutting-edge innovation is changing that, however, as material advances make pouch packaging recycle ready. This new material poses a new set of challenges for converters, including finding machines that can run it efficiently.
Pouch machine manufacturers, such as Hudson-Sharp, continue to work with converters on innovations that improve the pouch manufacturing process. These innovations allow converters to run recycle ready films efficiently and maintain production speeds. Hudson-Sharp has a long history of processing all PE webs which can be applied to recycle ready pouches. While the converting industry is challenged by the new recycle ready structures, Hudson Sharp has been running PE structures for years.
As consumers continue to demand more sustainable packaging, and brands work to meet sustainability initiatives, the ability for pouch machines to run recyclable substrates will become even more important. Having the right machine that can run PE efficiently will differentiate converters in the market and achieve their sustainability goals at the same time.