Food packaging predicament

Flexible or rigid?

Refrigerated food case in a grocery store

Flexible packaging is a fast growing packaging trend, but is flexible or rigid packaging right for your product and channel strategies? According to Jim Wynne, Director of Food Solutions with Veritiv, the answer may be both.

Today’s consumers are showing greater concern about health and wellness, driving them to not only buy different foods, but also change the way they buy and consume food products. These concerns have led to a growing demand for flexible packaging since it tends to be more portable and portioned, which can improve product shelf life and reduce overall food waste.

Formatted text representing a point made in the contentHowever, Wynne explains that both formats have unique benefits. Flexible packaging can offer improved production and supply chain efficiencies. It is also seen by many brand owners as providing greater versatility in pack-out options, all to meet the unique distribution challenges for an expanding universe of food retailers and food service operators. Flexible materials offer the ability to showcase the product inside and utilize package geometry to more fully leverage graphics that may attract more impulse buyers.

Offering optimal product protection and security, rigid packaging has been the traditional choice for many types of beverages and center-of-the- store food products. But flexible packaging has been seen by many brand owners as providing greater versatility in pack-out options – meeting unique distribution challenges.

Consumers have grown accustomed to the reliability of this package format and generally view rigid packaging as more recyclable, which can greatly influence buying behavior.

The best of both worlds

Flexible packaging is very popular and offers unique advantages, but Wynne says he expects to see more food brands using hybrid solutions. These solutions utilize a mix of flexible and rigid packaging materials in the same pack to streamline channel strategies and address changing consumer behavior.