Flexible Packaging: What's the Hype?

21 June 2021

Rigid packaging is becoming a trend of the past as flexible packaging is gaining popularity. Many companies are thriving with flexible packaging, and there are no signs of slowing down. You may not even notice it, but flexible packaging has become standard for cosmetic products, food, and household items. 

But what is so special about flexible packaging? And why are so many companies turning away from rigid packaging? The benefits of flexible packaging may surprise you. So let’s take a look at why flexible packaging is here to stay

What Is Flexible Packaging?

Flexible packaging is a container made out of non-rigid materials. This form of packaging can be made out of a combination of many materials, including:

  • Film
  • Foil
  • Plastic
  • Paper

Even though versatile packaging is newly popular, the history of flexible packaging dates back to Chinese paper products in the second century B.C. From there, packaging methods shifted from paper to glass, then to metals, and finally to today’s flexible options. 

Industries such as cosmetics, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals rely on versatile packaging to create storage pouches, bags, sleeves, and other containers. Flexible packaging is used for marketing, protecting, and distributing a large variety of products. 

Why Is Flexible Packaging So Popular?

Comparatively, rigid packaging cannot fold or change shape once it is established. The firm nature of rigid packaging is ideal for fragile products such as electronics, but it is too bulky for everyday items. 

One of the most significant benefits of flexible packaging is its affordability. Brands can package their materials in a stylish, functional way without breaking their budget. In addition, the lightweight nature of flexible packaging provides manufacturers with lower shipping costs. There are many other reasons flexible packaging is so popular. Here are more of its top benefits:

Environmentally Friendly

Flexible packaging is more sustainable than its rigid counterpart. The overall production process of versatile packaging requires less energy and fewer natural resources. Since flexible packaging is smaller and lightweight, trucks can carry more packages in one load, dramatically reducing the number of automotive emissions in the atmosphere. Reducing unnecessary automobile use is helpful for the environment because vehicles release the following smog-forming emissions:

  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Non-methane organic gases
  • Particulate matter 

Additionally, flexible packaging helps decrease the level of waste in landfills. Since fewer packing materials are used in a flexible pouch, landfills see less waste from materials such as:

  • Styrofoam 
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard
  • Individual plastic wrappers

Versatile packaging often features resealable options such as zippers and press-to-seal functions. Because of this, many customers are likely to reuse the packaging for other purposes around their homes. When materials are repurposed, less waste ends up in landfills. 


Another significant benefit of flexible packaging is its convenience. In today’s world, consumers are always searching for quick and easy solutions. Flexible packaging removes unnecessary layers of additional wrapping, so customers can quickly grab your product off the shelf and access what’s inside. 

Consumers value flexible packaging because it is easy to store, transport, open, and reuse. For example, it is much simpler for a busy parent to grab pre-packaged snack bags for their kids than to spend time opening a different box of snacks and pouring it into individual bags. In addition, if the kids don’t finish all of the snacks, flexible packages can easily be resealed and saved for later. 

Flexible packaging is lightweight and versatile, which makes it easy for on-the-go people to carry packages in places such as:

  • Purses
  • Backpacks
  • Pockets
  • Diaper bags

Flexible packaging cannot be broken when dropped, unlike its rigid competitor that uses glass and hard plastic. Busy consumers admire how flexible packaging accommodates their hectic lives.

Extended Shelf Life

An additional environmental bonus of flexible packaging is the extended shelf life of food products. Flexible, plastic pouches keep food products fresh for longer periods. As a result, food can get consumed rather than thrown away. 

Food waste is a massive problem in the United States. An estimated 35 million people in America suffer from food insecurity, and 10 million of those people are children. Food insecurity is the lack of consistent access to enough food for a healthy lifestyle. To add more fuel to the fire, a staggering 80 billion pounds of food is discarded in the United States each year.  Most discarded food ends up in landfills instead of in the hands of people who need it. Labels such as “sell by” and “best before” are often confusing and misunderstood, and a large portion of food products get thrown away before they’ve spoiled. 

Without the proper packaging, perishable food spoils quickly. However, flexible packaging provides high-barrier films and airtight seals, so food products such as cheese and beef jerky are protected from oxygen and moisture. 

The resealable nature of versatile packaging ensures that food items can stay fresh over multiple uses. This feature extends the life of the food, which means it can get eaten rather than tossed in a landfill. Flexible packaging benefits the shelf life of many food items, including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Nuts

Design Possibilities

Design has a massive effect on consumerism. Marketing is more effective when companies utilize striking product designs. Flexible packaging allows for high-impact graphics to be printed around the entirety of the package.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing flexible packaging. Designs can help consumers spot your brand out of a crowd of other products. Cohesive brand designs on packaging act as advertising as well as product protection. Thankfully, design quality is made easy with digital printing. Digital printing is easy to execute on flexible packaging, and you can obtain your designed packages in a matter of days. 

Flexible Packaging is Here to Stay

As you can tell, the hype over flexible packaging is not overrated. The benefits of versatile packaging far outweigh the benefits of rigid packaging. With an affordable, sustainable, and convenient packaging option on the market, it’s no wonder why so many businesses utilize flexible packaging. 

If you’re ready for your product to stand out on the shelves, you’ve come to the right place. The Packaging Lab offers versatile resealable pouches with a turnaround in as little as one business day. Order a free sample pack today, and discover the fantastic benefits of flexible packaging for yourself.