POUCHES ARE IN VOGUE: THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT POUCH PACKAGING
- Pouch packaging is becoming increasingly popular for presentIng products at the point of sale.
- Thanks to their versatile shapes and materials, they are suitable for countless product types – but their are pitfalls to avoid when making the right choice.
- Now pack your products with pouch packaging from the Labelprint24 range!
Pouch packaging is a great way to pack a wide variety of products in a convenient and material-saving way. Not every type of product is optimally stored in a folding or cardboard box – this is why we are expanding our product range to include pouch packaging.
Packaging in pouch form is versatile, protects your products, and offers plenty of space for an attractive design with custom-printing. This article answers any questions you might have – we will be happy to advise you directly if you have any other requests!
What distinguishespouch packaging
The consumer market is in a constant state of change. In recent years, the trend has clearly been moving towards a mobile, fast-paced lifestyle and, in addition, towards a focus on high-quality, healthier, fresh or more luxurious products.
This changes the type of goods that are offered, but also their presentation, and thus their packaging. This has led to a greater demand for portion-specific, flexible and attractive packaging – and thus directly to pouches.
The market share of this product category has grown enormously in the last five years, and the trend is rising. Many goods that were previously packaged in cans or jars with lids, for example, are now more commonly filled into pouches. When it comes to food, for example, a study by the Canadian Institute for 2018 forecast a global market share of 53.1 percent.
They are increasingly being used for a very wide variety of fillings:
- Cosmetic products
- Animal feed
- Granulated or powdered products such as dietary supplements
They are ideally suited for all of these goods, because, thanks to their diverse array of forms and materials, they are able to offer the right properties for all possible conditions:
- Flexibility: On the one hand, they are handy and compact, but they can also be made of lots of different materials and come in many shapes and sizes. Pouch packaging is therefore suitable for a wide range of products and for practical use in everyday life. They are lighter and more convenient to transport than inflexible containers made of solid material.
They are also suitable for branding of any kind – be it sustainable natural or luxury products. In portion-specific sizes, especially, they have become popular for typical foods such as trail mix.
- Marketing potential: The various possibilities created by the shape and design of the pouches enable a variety of marketing approaches. Thanks to the pouches' ability to be printed all round, optional viewing windows, high-quality look and feel and suitability for everyday use, products can be designed very individually and in high quality.
In the case of pouches with a stand-up bottom, stand-alone presentation at the point of sale is also an option – including full-surface printing. Partial areas without printing are also possible on request, which enable customers to view the contents closely.
The potential of pouch packaging for packing products safely and practically, as well as with advertising appeal, is enormous. As you can see: pouches are an ideal way to present various goods in the best possible light.
- Barrier properties: Whether to protect aromas such as in coffee, to increase the shelf life of food, or to safely pack liquid contents – materials with high barrier properties, such as various plastic laminates, are a huge plus. Different materials are suitable for different purposes because their barriers against gases, vapours or aromas are impermeable to different degrees.
Powders, such as some food supplements for athletes, have lower requirements here, while paste-like or semi-fluid foods, such as sauces or pharmaceutical products, place particularly high demands on the barrier. An additional press-to-close seal maintains the shelf life of food as well as the impermeability and thus the transportability of the bag, even after it has been opened for the first time.
All information at a glance
Pouch packaging is extremely versatile and therefore incredibly popular in various industries. This results in a huge variety of different materials, shapes, designs and processing methods available on the market.
In order to select the optimal pouch packaging design for your own products, all options and aspects must be considered in detail. Here, we give an overview of the most important factors that the market offers. If you still have questions about the multitude of options, please contact us – our experts will help you!
1. A little materials science
The materials from which a pouch is made determine a large part of its properties, and this is therefore the first – extremely important – decision that must be taken when making your selection.
Depending on the type of filling that is planned, the packaging must meet the relevant requirements. There are therefore several different materials that are used in the manufacture of pouches. The two main categories are, firstly, monomaterials, i.e., packaging made from a single material, and, secondly, composite materials.
Monomaterials offer the advantage that they are usually cheaper. They are also recyclable, because pure polyethylene, for instance, can be added to the relevant cycle. You can find more information on recycling in our specialist article.
The most important materials include:
- Polypropylene (PP): a very widespread plastic that, when properly processed with an EVOH barrier layer (ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer), can be used without any other substances at all, and is therefore 100 percent recyclable.
- Polyethylene (PE): more precisely, LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is often used. This locks in aromas and flavours – cling film, for example, is made of the same material.
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): thanks to its long name, it is almost exclusively known as PET. This plastic is very stable, but also flexible, which makes PET pouches very robust.
Composite materials are usually not recyclable, or can only be recycled with difficulty, but for many purposes they are much more popular and widespread due to their excellent properties. The combination of two or more materials creates countless different possibilities and combines their advantages. For example, you benefit from the best possible printability for implementing an extraordinary design without having to forego a high level of protection for the contents, thanks to the barrier properties of the material. The most popular composites used in pouch packaging are:
- Plastic and paper: paper and PE or paper and PP are often combined in order to combine the high stability and good feel of paper with the tear resistance and barrier properties of plastic. Paper and PP are often used as Kraft paper for dry foods such as nuts or tea.
- Polypropylene and metal foil: also known as MET-PET, this is a plastic foil that is metallised with a thin aluminium layer. This results in excellent protection for the goods with which the pouch is filled. MET-PET pouches not only have the highest barrier performance for gases and moisture; they also effectively protect the products from the effects of light.
- Kaft paper, PET and PE: a particularly strong, three-layer composite material that is often used for stable stand-up pouches. You have the option, for example, of creating pouches that look like paper but offer better protection and have a plastic viewing window.
2. Shapes and bottom types
The right material is only half the battle though – because the shape of the pouch must also suit the product accordingly. It is not about the size, but the way the pouch is made.
Pouch packaging is available with or without a constructed bottom. The former are simple flat pouches that adapt completely to the shape of the filling. But even with these, there are differences – with or without a side gusset, for example, which allows the bag to have more volume. The position of the seam can also be crucial.
However, other types of pouches have a specially developed bottom, which gives them different handling properties.
- Flat-bottom pouches (box pouches)
- Cross-bottom pouches
- Stand-up pouches (Doypacks)
- Block-bottom pouches
- Bottom-gusset pouches
- Side-gusset pouches
- Quad bags
- Pouch boosters
3. Additional features
Each pouch can also be equipped with further properties that give it a certain additional function. Depending on the product type and the intended marketing strategy, certain further customisation may therefore be necessary or can enhance the product.
Common features offered in the packaging market include:
- Press-to-close seal: commonly also referred to as a zipper. The easy-to-handle press-to-close seal is used to keep contents fresh for a long time, while the ability to reseal the pouch is itself also very practical in everyday life. There are several variants, such as zippers with a double or triple profile for a higher barrier performance, or a child-resistant closure for more security. Very fine powdered goods, for example, require special types of closure. Velcro zippers are also possible.
- Viewing window: a special design component that enables both attractive printing and a view of the contents. In the case of transparent materials, you simply determine an area that is not to be printed over, which then allows a free view into the inside.
- Punched hole: if the products are to be presented on a display stand at the point of sale, a punched hole is needed for hanging them up. With many pouch shapes, especially Doypacks, this is very easy to do – either with common Euro holes or with a standard round hole.
- Valve: this fitting is becoming increasingly popular, especially for high-quality coffee. A valve allows gases to escape, but no air into the interior of the packaging. This protects the flavours and aromas particularly well.
- Tear tab: for everyday products that are often opened on the go, a tear tab is a good idea, as scissors are not always available. In combination with a press-to-close seal, this results in the highest practicality.
- Straw: pouch packaging is used for some drinks – the iconic Capri Sun bags are a popular example. A special opening is needed here for the straw.
- Spout: for liquids or smoothies, specially designed spouts are usually required to make the pouches suitable for everyday use. Pourers like these are particularly important for pharmaceutical or hygiene products as well as to-go beverages.
Thanks to these and other optional features, pouch packaging offers an even greater degree of versatility – most industry representatives who use them are convinced across the board, which can be clearly seen from the growth of the product group.
4. The design matters
The functional product design of pouch packaging is now complete – the material, the type of pouch and the additional features have been selected. But for many products, whether for an effective promotional presentation in store or for a high-quality user experience when unpacking the product, the external design is also very important.
Again, this begins straight away with the selection of the material – transparent polypropylene creates different options from aluminium, with their special glossy and metallic effects. But the outer finish, created by printing, is the crucial opportunity at this point to showcase your own design or your own brand in a correspondingly favourable light.
Pouches are ideal for this thanks to their large, smooth surfaces. Depending on the variant, you have a clear front and back (as with Doypacks, for example) or four sides (for example, block bottom bags), which can all be custom-printed.
Various printing technologies are used for this, all of which can deliver high-quality results, but there are differences in the way they are processed, and thus in how much they cost for specific runs.
- Gravure printing: the gravure printing process requires a printing form to be fabricated on steel cylinders, which entails rather high costs per order. This technology is therefore mainly used for very large industrial runs.
- Flexographic printing: this type of printing uses an individually manufactured, flexible rubber printing plate, the so-called cliché. Larger runs should therefore also be selected here. Flexographic printing is very widespread, especially for plastic packaging.
- Offset printing: this printing process is extremely widespread in many applications, including packaging printing. A printing plate is used here. Suitable for medium to large runs.
- Digital printing: digital printing is the modern counterpart to the variants already mentioned. Instead of using rollers or printing plates, here, the colour is applied to the print substrate using an electrophotographic process. There is no need to manufacture a printing plate or similar production equipment, which is why digital printing is worthwhile even for very small print runs and delivers high-quality results.
In addition to the advantage of not being dependent on the size of the run, which digital printing, the implementation is significantly faster, as various preparatory steps are omitted. For this reason, we at Labelprint24 use this printing technology exclusively, and have many years of experience with it, for example, in label and packaging printing.
The quality is in no way inferior to other printing technologies, while even the smallest print runs can be implemented extremely cost-effectively with this method, and with the shortest possible production times. In our live calculator on the various product pages, you can easily see which printing technology is cheaper, and therefore recommended, for your print runs.
Particularly in these times of digitisation, in which everyday life is getting faster and faster and more and more hectic, short production times and advantages when it comes to small promotional runs are of huge benefit – while individual branding is more important than ever.
That's why we are now combining our knowledge of packaging technology and digital printing and offering different types of pouch packaging that are printed with your design and using our many years of expertise. Thanks to our experience, we are also able to offer attractive solutions for special challenges such as mass customisation.
Brand new: pouch packaging from Labelprint24
Our selection of materials
In order to be able to offer suitable packaging for different products, we have selected three different materials that are available when choosing your pouch packaging. They all offer good barrier properties and are therefore suitable for all types of contents. Our established digital printing is also used to ensure the shortest possible production times alongside the highest quality.
Despite the printing design, our bags are uncompromisingly food-safe and harmless, as the printing ink is covered with an additional layer of film. The ink is located between two layers of material and therefore does not come into contact with the contents of the pouch or influences from the outside world.
Two monomaterials are used:
- Polypropylene in white: pouch packaging made of PP has proven itself on the market and repeatedly shown its versatility. The white base colour achieves optimal print quality.
- Polypropylene transparent: the transparent base material, in combination with the print, enables viewing windows, for example, or larger transparent surfaces, so as to provide a view of your product.
Since the plastics are very thinly coated with silicon oxide(SiOx), this increases the barrier performance of the material enormously. The permeability to both oxygen and water vapour are reduced many times over, which makes our polypropylene bags also suitable for sensitive products such as perishable or aromatic foods, like tea or coffee.
We rely entirely on our many years of experience here, using the material that we already make use of in large quantities for our labels. It has proven itself time and again, especially against polyethylene, because it can be used in a wide variety of ways. Polypropylene is only not recommended for certain products and substances that are used, for example, in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, but also occasionally in cosmetics – we will be happy to help you and give individual advice in this regard.
If necessary, our composite material can also be used:
- Polypropylene/aluminium: this metallised film is our record holder in terms of barrier performance. The stable feel also convinces, while the metallic look enables special effects depending on the printing. The mirror effect also makes the material relatively opaque, which also protects sensitive goods. These bags are therefore ideal for high-end products in the food sector, but also for many other goods.
The combination of these two materials ensures maximum stability, a high-quality look and the best conditions for attractive presentation of the product to your customers.
Types of bottom in the Labelprint24 range
For the product launch, we selected three different bottom variants from the many pouch shapes that cover many packaging options and are suitable for almost all purposes. The following pouches are available from Labelprint24:
- No stand-up bottom, therefore very flexible to use
- Suitable for space-saving transport
- For bulk goods of all kinds
- Also called a Doypack
- Variable bottom due to the bottom gusset
- For powders, granules, liquids, foodstuffs
- Handy and practical
- Stable, additional base that is popular for foodstuffs and confectionery
- Suitable for everyday use and efficient thanks to the large opening
Doypacks, in particular, are enjoying increasing popularity in many product categories as they are extremely versatile and ensure optimal product presentation on the shelf at the point of sale.
Our additional options
Of course, we can also provide the printed pouch packaging with additional features that you can freely select when configuring your order. You can choose from the following options:
Press-to-close seal:We use a practical standard zipper with a high level of impermeability, which is ideal for most purposes. Alternatively, the pouches can also be ordered without a zipper.
Punched hole:Our pouch packaging can be ordered without any perforation all, but are also available with a Euro hole in accordance with DIN standards, or a normal round hole.
Tear tab:The bags can optionally have a tear tab located above the press-to-close seal. The combination of both features is recommended for many products.
Other features from among all the options available on the market are also no problem. On special request, we are able to implement freshness valves for coffee or specialised press-to-close seals – including in combination with a punched hole, additional tabs, or various other options. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this in person
Cost-effective small production runs of the highest quality
As a specialist in digital printing, we can also offer high-quality solutions for custom small series of pouch packaging. Our printing technology and the entire process are particularly efficient – especially for mass customisation.
For our customer MyMuesli, we implemented high-quality and highly customised small series, with convincing results. This example illustrates the available possibilities as well as the special process. We would be happy to implement similar solutions for your request! Tell us about your project!
Take a look at our pouch packaging now and see the quality for yourself
Just as our customers are accustomed to, we also offer pouch packaging with the shortest delivery times and starting from the smallest of print runs – directly calculable in our online order form. For special requests involving very high print runs, we are able to resort to a hand-selected network of partners, so that we can also use other printing methods if necessary.
Short production time
thanks to digital printing
Can be freely combined:
Three types, three materials
Lots of optional possibilities:
Viewing window, zipper...
Best prices, even for the
If you are interested in our new pouch packaging, simply use our online calculation tool or contact us directly!