The global flexible packaging market is expected to grow by an average annual rate of 4.4%, reaching $99.10 billion by 2019, making it one of the fastest growing segments in the packaging industry.1 The success predicted for this market stems from operational and supply chain efficiencies inherent to flexible packaging as well as its ability to enhance shelf presence and extend shelf life. Additionally, the increasing popularity of flexible packaging requires manufacturers to rethink their secondary packaging decisions.

Source reduction

Flexible packaging uses less material and requires less energy to produce than other packaging types. The format also offers a high product-to-package ratio and adds less weight to the final package. Because vast amounts of packaged products are shipped each year, even small weight reductions of individual packages can generate significant savings in transportation costs and reduce the carbon footprint. Thus, the packaging contributes to sustainability efforts.

Shelf presence and shelf life

With a wide range of printing effects and capabilities to enhance print and graphics quality, flexible packaging can be a differentiator for brand owners looking to stand out on the shelf. The ability to print fully across the panels of a stand-up pouch creates a large billboard for product messaging and eye-catching graphics. The wide range of flexible packaging styles and shapes further enhances shelf presence.

According to Mintel’s 2014 Food Packaging Report, 92% of consumers believe packaging’s most important attribute is the ability to preserve freshness. Flexible packaging offers superior barrier capabilities and can extend the shelf-life of a product through gas flushing or by aseptically filling the package. Manufacturers are even implementing smart solutions such as gas sensors, oxygen sensors, biosensors, and integrity, freshness and time-temperature indicators into the package. These features enhance a product’s freshness and quality messages.

Effect on secondary packaging

As flexible packaging – particularly the stand-up pouch – becomes more pervasive as a primary packaging option, manufacturers have had to reassess what type of secondary packaging will provide adequate protection for their product across the supply chain. Flexible packaging requires greater support from the secondary carton According to PMMI’s 2014 Secondary Packaging Market Assessment Report, manufacturers have indicated an increase in the use of corrugated secondary packaging as a result of the need to protect flexible primary packaging.

Solutions at PACK EXPO

Food and beverage professionals can find the latest flexible packaging applications and meet with suppliers and experts at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015 (Las Vegas Convention Center; September 28-30, 2015), owned and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. The Brand Zone, located in the Lower South Hall, will be a hub for innovative packaging materials, labeling decorating and re-sealing technologies. Altogether, the event will provide insight for brand owners that want to adapt flexible packaging as well as other solutions in today’s ever-growing food and beverage market. Pharma EXPO, produced by PMMI in partnership with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, is co-located with PACK EXPO, and the combined event is expected to draw nearly 30,000 attendees and over 2,000 exhibitors in 800,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

For more information and to register, visit Registration for PACK Las Vegas and Pharma EXPO is $30 through Sept. 14, when it increases to $100.


  1. "Flexible Packaging Market to Reach US$99.10 Billion in 2019." Transparency Market Research. Web. 4 June 2015.


PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, actively brings buyers and sellers together through initiatives such as, educational programs and world-class events, connecting participants in the processing and packaging supply chain with their customers around the world. PMMI produces the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, which includes PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015 (Sept. 28–30; Las Vegas Convention Center) and Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2015. PMMI owns PMMI Media Group, a market-leading B2B media company that produces information for processing and packaging professionals, bringing together solution providers and end-users and facilitating connectivity throughout the supply chain. Its world class media brands are proven leaders in covering this diverse and dynamic marketplace, and its digital products incorporate leading edge media technologies to deliver informed, actionable business intelligence to the industry.

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