Ever notice that more and more products on supermarket shelves are sold in all sorts of new flexible pouches? Tuna fish, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, baby formula, candy, pet foods, and even wine are being packaged in super-light, soft plastic pouches.
In the refrigerator and freezer sections you see still more foods in similar flexible, often re-sealable pouches for fish, chicken strips, dinner entrees, and more.
So, why the switch? And should we care?
The new plastic flex pouch is one of the latest innovations in modern food packaging made possible by advancements in plastics. This new flexible plastic packaging is actually a sophisticated fusion of various lightweight plastics and (sometimes) other materials.
And, yes, we should care because it does something really cool: It delivers our food safely, conveniently—and with an eye on sustainability.
Shoppers are always on the lookout for products that are easy to carry, easy to store, and easy to use. And most importantly—products that waste less: waste less money, waste less food, and create less packaging waste. Flexible plastic packaging does all of these things—very well.
To make this handy, high-tech pouch, food-packaging experts fuse together various super-thin layers of plastic films, depending on the food and desires of the consumer. For example, there may be a polyethylene layer to provide structure, a polyester layer to make it tougher and printable, even a plastic/metal layer to keep out air—and maybe more. It’s hard to believe there are so many things happening in something so incredibly light. But that’s the key: each element performs an important function with as little material as possible.
The layers work together to protect our food and to keep it fresher longer. Drop it and it doesn’t break. Seal it and it keeps in aromas. Freeze it and it doesn’t crack. Lift it and it’s lightweight. Bend it, twist it, toss it in the bag—and use it when we need it.
On top of all this, flexible plastic packaging contributes to sustainability. How? Here’s just one example: it takes about 338 grams of glass to deliver a pound of peanuts. Flexible plastic packaging? Just 34 grams.
It’s made with less material so it conserves resources. It requires less energy to create. It moves food more efficiently from the farm or factory to the family table. And where facilities exist, it can be recycled into new packaging or reusable energy.
So it’s flexible. Lightweight. Durable. Convenient. And it consumes fewer resources and produces less waste. Sounds like quite a package …
Check out this fun video to see how Dow is telling this story about flexible plastic packaging.