Category Archive: Packaging Services

Flexible Food Packaging: What You Need To Know

Flexible packaging has significantly grown in popularity in the food and beverage industry. Due to its many benefits, it is often the packaging of choice for various food products on a domestic and global level.

Flexible Food Packaging

Flexible Food Packaging: What You Need To Know

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By using non-rigid materials to package food, manufacturers are better able to customize the container to fit the product and the brand. Flexible packaging is available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and it can be created in either formed or unformed configurations. Formed packaging is pre-shaped and can be filled and sealed in-house, whereas unformed packaging comes on a roll that is sent to co-packers for forming and filling.

Types of flexible packaging include:

  • Sample Pouches. These small heat-sealed packets are usually pre-formed for easy in-house packing and filling.
  • Printed Pouches. These are sample pouches that have been customized with branding information for marketing purposes.
  • Sachets. These flat packets are common for single-use pharmaceuticals and personal care products. They are also ideal for sample sharing in-store and at trade shows.
  • Printed Roll Stock. These arrive in an unformed roll that is already printed with product and branding information. The co-packer forms, fills, and seals them.
  • Stocks Bags. Stock bags are blank formed bags or pouches. They can be used as-is or you can add a label with branding and product information.

Flexible food packaging materials can be used to package a wide range of products, including:

  • Baby Food
  • Chocolate and Candy
  • Beef Jerky
  • Crackers, Cookies, and Snacks
  • Grains and Flour
  • Baking Mixes and Dry Foods
  • Cereal and Granola
  • Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts
  • Cheese and Meat Products
  • Popcorn
  • Seasonings and Spices
  • Soups, Sauces, and Salad Dressings

Flexible containers offer incredible versatility and flexibility. This is important in the food and beverage industry as companies strive to differentiate their products in a competitive space while ensuring the items stay fresh and protected from damage.

Benefits of Flexible Food Containers

Flexible packaging offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Consumers Love It. Flexible packaging is extremely consumer-friendly. Upright flexible pouches make it easy to access snacks or baking ingredients, while resealable packaging ensures freshness, prevents spills, and keeps out contaminants.
  • Simplified Shipping and Handling. Lightweight flexible packaging is easier and more cost-effective to transport. This not only helps you save money but also reduces your carbon footprint due to less fuel consumption.
  • Customizable Barrier Properties. Custom films and other barrier materials can protect your product from light, air, or moisture.
  • Good for Branding. From custom graphics that highlight your brand to clear windows that allow consumers to see the product inside, flexible containers are easily customized for effective branding. 
  • Environmentally Friendly. The amount of greenhouse gases used to produce flexible packaging is lower compared to producing traditional packaging materials. 
  • Increased Shelf Life and Freshness. Barriers and resealable openings keep out UV light, moisture, dust, and more to ensure the product stays fresher, longer.
  • Lower Production Costs. Flexible packages are easier to form and require less material than rigid packages, reducing production time, waste, and energy consumption. 

Flexible Packaging Industries

Along with the food and beverage industry, many other industries benefit from using flexible packaging. These include:

  • Cosmetics. Resealable packages can be used for cotton pads and make-up removing wipes while flexible sample pouches can be used for foundation, concealer, lotion, and serum. 
  • Personal Care. Sample pouches are ideal for single-use medications and personal products. 
  • Household Cleaning. Flexible packaging offers an ideal solution for single-use detergent packets, cleaning powder, and more.
  • Pet Food Packaging. Flexible pouches and packages are suitable for containing dog food and treats.

Flexible Packaging from Econo-Pak

For more than 30 years, Econo-Pak has specialized in contract packaging, with a focus on becoming the premier food repackaging company in the country. Over the years, our family-owned and operated company has partnered with clients both large and small, including Fortune 500 companies and independent firms, in a range of industries. With 240,000 square feet of production space and over 200 different packaging machines, we can offer packaging solutions to meet your specifications, no matter the size or scope.

To learn more about our flexible packaging capabilities for the food and beverage industry, request a quote today. 

Flow Wrapping vs. Overwrapping

Flow Wrapping Vs Overwrapping
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There are many types of packaging methods available, each of which is suitable for different packaging needs. Flow wrapping and overwrapping are two of the most commonly employed by industry professionals for consumer goods. The following blog post provides an overview of the flow wrapping and overwrapping processes, outlining what they entail, unique benefits, and typical applications.

Understanding the Processes

Despite their similarity in name, flow wrapping and overwrapping are distinct packaging techniques; they package different types of products, employ different equipment, and achieve different functions. Below we describe each process and the differences between them.

An Overview of Flow Wrapping

Flow wrapping, also sometimes referred to as pillow pouch wrapping, horizontal bagging, and fin-seal wrapping, is a horizontal-motion packaging process used to cover products—with any geometric shape—in clear or custom-printed polypropylene film. The finished package is a flexible packet featuring a crimped seal on each end.

The flow wrapping process employs the use of flow wrapping machines, which are designed and manufactured to package a wide range of products to achieve varying aesthetic looks and feels. Using these machines, the following operations occur:

  1. Placement of the products on an infeed conveyor belt
  2. Transportation of the products to the forming area
  3. Wrapping of the product(s) with sealing material
  4. Mating of the outer edges of the material along the bottom
  5. Creation of a tight seal between the mated edges using pressure, heat, or both
  6. Movement of the products through rotating cutter edges or end seal crimpers to seal both ends and separate individual packets from one another
  7. Discharge of the packaged products for storage and/or further packaging operations

An Overview of Overwrapping

over wrappingIn contrast to flow wrapping, overwrapping is only used to wrap and seal products with flat sides—such as boxes, cartons, and trays—in heat sealable film. The end result is a packaged product wrapped and sealed, much like a gift. The process is suitable for adding secondary packaging over already packaged products to preserve freshness and combining individually packaged products together.

Similar to flow wrapping, overwrapping makes use of specialized equipment—i.e., overwrapping machines. These machines perform the following operations:

  1. Pushing the product through heat sealable film cut from a larger roll
  2. Folding the film around the product
  3. Heat sealing the film at the overlapping sections
  4. Forming the envelope-like ends with shaped plates and sealing them using heated plates or belts
  5. Discharging the packaged products for storage and/or further packaging operations

Differences Between Flow Wrapping and Overwrapping

When deciding between the flow wrapping and overwrapping for a packaging operation, it is important to keep in mind their differences. For example, flow wrapping accommodates products of all shapes, while overwrapping is suitable only for products with flat sides. Additionally, flow wrapping is used to protect products from damage and degradation, while overwrapping allows for the combination of multiples packages into a single unit for easier storage and delivery.

Which Method Should You Choose?

Both flow wrapping and overwrapping offer unique advantages, but there are times when it’s clearly best to use one over the other. Below we outline some of the key benefits and applications of each packaging technique.

Benefits and Applications of Flow Wrap Packaging

Some of the benefits of using the flow wrapping method to package products include:

  • Broad size tolerance: Flow wrapping accommodates a variety of product shapes and sizes.
  • Airtight seals: The seals formed by the flow wrapping process keep out air and moisture to preserve the freshness of the packaged products, resulting in longer shelf lives.
  • Easy set-up operations: With flow wrapping machines, it’s easy to adjust for different product parameters, including in regard to size and shape.

For the above reasons, among others, flow wrapping is widely used across industry. It is often used by the food and beverage, medical, pharmaceutical, and tool and hardware industries to package their goods, such as candy bars, baked goods, soaps, lotions, and duct tape.

Benefits and Applications of Overwrap Packaging

Overwrapping offering many manufacturing advantages, such as:

  • Versatility: Overwrapping can be used in several ways, including serving as the primary packaging for the products, as a method of bundling separate products into a single multi-pack unit, or as further protection for already packaged products.
  • Attractiveness: Overwrapping creates a sleek packaged look.
  • Tamper-proofing: As overwrapping requires specialized equipment to apply correctly, it’s obvious if it has been tampered with or removed.
  • Compound control: Overwrapping keeps out contaminants (allowing for longer shelf life) and keeps in internal compounds (helping contain strong odors).

Many consumer industries make use of overwrapping. Some of the most common include the food and beverage, healthcare, and personal care industries, which use the process to package goods such as frozen meat, boxes of tea, paper towels, cold medicine, and lipstick.

In Need of Expert Contract Packaging Services?

Flow wrapping and overwrapping each have their place in packaging operations, and, at Econo-Pak, we are well-versed in both methods. We have over three decades of experience and more than 200 different packaging machines, both of which we leverage to provide customers with top-notch customer service. Accommodating quantities from one to one billion, we can fulfill virtually any size order.

For more information about our packaging capabilities, contact us today. For pricing details, request a quote.