Exploring the Different Kinds of Flexible Packaging Films
05 August 2021
One of the most important steps of any food or beverage production process is how they will be packaged. As a manufacturer, you need a strong package design to protect the product from damage, catch your customer’s attention, and retain their interest.
While that may seem like an overwhelming goal, it’s possible thanks to the many benefits of flexible packaging design available. While traditional packaging has bulky and costly limitations, flexible packaging films can fit nearly any product in almost any industry.
Are you using the best flexible packaging design for your products? Explore the different types of flexible packaging films to influence your next product packaging design.
What Is Flexible Packaging?
Unlike rigid packages, flexible packaging earns its name from its flexibility since the shape is based on the product design. Thanks to this, flexible packaging is a versatile and functional solution for your products and can seamlessly be made out of several materials for added performance results. Some great examples of flexible packaging include:
- Shrink films
These products are made from either film, foil, plastic, paper, or a combination of a few to meet the manufacturing and distribution needs in a stylish and attention-getting way.
More and more businesses are turning to flexible packaging designs for their durability, affordability, high-quality materials, and FDA-approved ability to increase shelf life. Custom tailor it to fit any product, regardless of shape or size. On top of everything else, flexible packages provide the perfect landscape for designers to create attractive and engaging designs.
Stand Up Pouches
This is one of the best alternatives to standard packaging. Many companies have shifted to using stand-up pouches since they stand up on shelves in stores. On top of this stand-out design, it also provides an airtight seal to help with preserving the product. Customers also love these flexible packaging designs due to their ease of use and eye-catching graphics. Depending on what you want packaged, select from either single or multi-layer films for extra protection.
Lay Flat Pouches
As the name suggests, lay flat pouches are designed with a flat design so they either rest on surfaces or hang from hooks on wall displays with the addition of implanted hang holes. Do you regularly dispatch customers’ orders? If so, lay flat pouches offer a unique design advantage for this service since they are lightweight and compact. Reduce your waste and maximize your storage space with this design.
Types of Flexible Packaging Film
Plastic polymer packaging materials are widespread and commonly used due to their affordability and flexibility. Each type of plastic has signature properties that make it highly desirable for food packaging. Don’t forget that working with a skilled packaging designer will help you save time and money by ensuring you get the best product packaging solution. Shop our selection of flexible packaging film solutions to find the perfect fit for your product.
Explore the different flexible packaging films offered by The Package Lab, including:
- Barrier Clear: These clear pouch films offer excellent barrier properties, ink adhesion, and puncture resistance.
- Barrier White: Looking for a durable pouch application? Select white pouch films for their puncture resistance, quality barrier control, and good adhesive bonds.
- Clear Snack Web: Choose this medium gauge clear film for snacks thanks to its durable sealant layer, economical packaging, and heat stability.
- White Snack Web: If you want all the benefits of a clear snack web without clarity, select the medium gauge white film for snack pack applications.
- Metalized Barrier Snack Web: Metalized pouch films continue the benefits of heat stability, excellent barrier properties, and durability.
- BOPP Clear: This film is treated on one side with Ultra High Surface Energy (UHSE) for a safe heat seal layer. Consider thin gauge clear film for numerous applications.
Materials Used for Flexible Packaging Film
What would product design be without the materials used to create it? Read on to learn more about the most common types of plastic polymer flexible packaging film types:
Biaxially-oriented polyamide, a.k.a BOPA, is most commonly used for distilled goods, perishable food, and some agricultural products. This is because it’s exceptionally durable and puncture-resistant while still retaining a high level of transparency.
If you need to know what’s inside without worrying about its tensile strength, consider this strong barrier against oxygen, aromas, and even some chemical substances. Take a peek at some great uses for BOPA packaging below:
- Frozen foods
- Medical machines
- And more
Similar to BOPA, this extruded bi-axially orientated polypropylene polymer (BOPP) is an excellent flexible packaging option for many food sources. Due to its resilience and clarity, BOPP is used in snack food packages, especially because it can hold weight without easily breaking. You can even use BOPP in packaging labels. Since it locks out moisture, it can even be an excellent selection for pesticide, hygiene, dairy, or confectionery packing. See some great examples below:
- Bird seeds
- Personal hygiene products
- Pet foods
Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) builds off of the strength and oxygen-blocking qualities of the previously mentioned polymers to create a stiffer barrier. BOPET’s high tensile strength combined with added heat resistance allows it to withstand modifications without compromising the food’s aroma or flavor.
As a result, you can find this polymer throughout the food industry, especially as the lids of ready-made frozen dinners or your favorite yogurt. See some examples of industries where BOPET is used:
- Food & beverage
- Electrical & electronics
- Personal care products
Biaxially-oriented polyethylene is one of the most common polymer films used in flexible packaging. Some of the biggest benefits of BOPET packages are that they are relatively low cost, have a great heat-seal strength, an excellent moisture barrier, and are durable. BOPE is a great solution for many different types of products, including:
- Shopping bags
- Pharmaceutical packages
- Laundry detergents
Select one of these designs in either high gloss or transparent styles.
Linear low-density polyethylene, or LLDPE, is one of the strongest and most flexible plastic films due to being a blended form of LDPE. Say goodbye to puncturing or tearing, thanks to LLDPE’s high tensile design. On top of being such a durable material, LLDPE maintains the flavor and quality of the contents within each package, prolonging shelf life.
Since it’s such a versatile material blend, it can also be used in extrusion coating applications to provide an extra layer of protection. Some examples are as follows:
- Pond liners
- Carpet backing
- Paper and paperboard packaging
- Flexible tubing
- Stretch wrap
While low-density polythene (LDPE) is the most common type of plastic polymer used, it does lack the strength of LLDPE. Nevertheless, you can find this polymer used in items worldwide from bread bags to coffee lids.
LDPE can even be recycled, making it a great choice for the eco-conscious shopper. Do you want some ideas of how to use LDPE? Check out examples below:
- Six-pack can rings
- fresh produce bags
- Dry cleaning bags
- Garbage bags
- The coating on disposable drink cups
- Newspaper bags
This high-density polyethylene film is revered for its exceptional strength and clarity, making it a favorite in the food industry. If you need a product vacuum-sealed, HDPE is the number one choice to help preserve your food’s flavor and nutritional integrity. See some other products that can benefit from HDPE films:
- Recycling bins
- Chemical containers
- Haircare products
- Food industry
This high-quality and UV-resistant polymer provides a stiffer design option for many products.
Foil packages are typically used by food, medical, and pharmaceutical industries due to their protective solid barrier. This material keeps food fresh, blocks harmful contaminants, and prolongs shelf life. Foil can also be recycled, which is great for companies seeking sustainable packaging solutions.
Additional Flexible Packaging Film Types
While plastic polymer is widely used, there is an additional film type that is worth noting. Learn more about how laminated film protects package designs for various companies below:
If you’re interested in a more intricate flexible packaging solution, consider laminates. These multi-layered structures incorporate polymer films and paper to an aluminum or metalized film. Adding this multi-layered protection ensures that food stays fresher and no external odors make their way into products. This is due to aluminum’s ability to reflect heat and act as a barrier to external gases and moisture.
Laminate flexible packaging can be found all over, such as:
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Flavored beverages
- Ready-to-eat snacks
- Some medical products
Find Your Perfect Flexible Packaging Film From The Packaging Lab!
We are constantly searching for the latest in innovative packaging solutions for our customers. So, whether you’re looking for sachets, pre-printed vacuum pouches, or anything in-between, our team is ready to help you find the perfect fit for your product.
Select our custom-printed films with no required minimum quantity.
The Packaging Lab is proud to offer custom-designed flexible packaging solutions with little turnaround time so that you don’t have to worry about downtime in-between rebranding products. If you’re ready to upgrade to flexible packaging films, contact us today to get started!