Over the last few years the stand-up pouch has emerged as one of the most versatile and rapidly growing flexible packaging formats which is being adopted worldwide for an increasingly wide variety of end-use applications. PCI Films Consulting Ltd (pcifilms.com) estimates current global market demand at around 80 billion units, over 50% of which is now in Europe and North America where unit volumes are growing by around 5% and 8% per annum respectively.

Recent studies on the European and US stand-up pouch markets published by PCI Films Consulting Ltd show demand being driven by a range of factors:

  • Machinery improvements in terms of speed and the ability to incorporate resealable features such as zippers and sliders.
  • For retort applications, pouches offer reduced heating times and better taste compared with cans.
  • Improvements in barrier film substrates such as coatings with increased heat tolerance and strength; developments in EVOH which is a lower cost barrier film alternative to PVdC coated films; and the availability of directional tear films.
  • Environmental benefits and reduced logistical and storage costs compared with rigid formats.
  • Consumer convenience – light weight, ease of opening and usage – e.g. special spouts on pouches for baby food, measured dosing and reclose / resealability.
  • New eating occasions such as eating and drinking on-the-go.
  • Attractiveness to retailers – more visible display area with increased printing surface for effective graphics, economies of stacking space by usage in vertical display cabinets.

More generally stand-up pouches offer packers an opportunity to stimulate packaged food sales, develop creative ways to compete better at the consumer and retailer, and the ability to offer profitable and innovative value-added line extensions to brand owners that complement their core businesses. Clearly the stand-up pouch is set to become a serious rival alternative to rigid formats especially as packers replace existing ageing filling equipment.

PCI’s comprehensive report, “The US Market for Stand-up Pouches to 2018,” which follows publication of a similar study on the European market, analyses the major factors driving growth in this dynamic market. Based on extensive fieldwork, the report provides details of the current US stand-up pouch market by unit volume; area of substrates used (M²) and value; existing and planned new filling capacities; trends in more than 30 end-use sub-sectors; usage split between pre-made and form-fill-seal formats; and profiles of the leading pouch suppliers. With forecasts to 2018, this market-leading report provides valuable strategic insights into how the US stand-up pouch market is expected to develop over the next five years.