Features | March 17, 2020
Reseller’s Guide to Flexible Packaging
Digital print technology has opened up opportunities in short to medium runs of flexible packaging. To help you get a jump-start in selling flexible packaging, we have written a step-by-step selling process, as well as an outline of what you will need to ask your customer, and insights on its economic and sustainability impact.
Explore Flexible Packaging Industries
Flexible packaging isn’t just a sealed pouch, such as a candy or chip bag; think of any product that is packaged in a stand-up pouch, flat bottom pouch, and pillow pouch, bag, bar wrap, sachet or stick pack. Flexible packaging could be an ideal solution for these industries:
- Snack foods
- Pet foods
- Processed Foods
- Coffee and tea
- Fresh produce
- Confectionery and dry foods
- Natural and organic
- Sauces, gravy and condiments
- Freezer applications
- Health and beauty
- Home and garden
- Pharmaceutical and medical
- Industrial and other products
Step-By-Step Guideline to Selling Flexible Packaging
Let’s explore step-by-step guidelines of how you could help your customer move from rigid packaging to a flexible package. In this example, we will show you how to move a nutraceutical company away from a labeled bottle with a shrink sealed cap to a flexible package.
Step 1: Fact finding. When calling on the nutraceutical company, find out how much they are spending on their bottles and caps. As a print reseller, we already know — or could guess — what they are paying for the label and shrink sleeve seal.
Step 2: Research costs. Compare the space and weight bottles take up in a warehouse and transportation versus flexible packaging. In addition to flexible packaging using less energy and generating less CO2 emissions in transportation, it also has reduced mass and contributes less to landfills (See FPA infographics). Now factor in additional labor costs for purchasing, stocking and inventorying caps, bottles, shrink sleeves and labels, versus one flexible pouch. When looking at the total costs of a cap, seal, bottle and label, in addition to shipping and storage, the cost of a custom pouch turns out to be a much less expensive option.
Step 3: Determine size, seal and shelf life. In this case, the pouch size is determined by the size and quantity of the capsules that will be placed in the pouch. To identify the film structure needed, a few questions regarding MVTR and OTR (moisture and oxygen vapor transmission rate), tear resistance, desired shelf life, light barrier and product visibility need to be answered by the customer. Discuss the various types of pouches, closures and finishes available. Security features such as variable data, micro text or invisible ink can be added for brand protection during printing. Let’s suppose our customer has decided on a flat-bottom pouch with a soft-touch laminate, tear notches and child-proof zipper.
Step 4: Get a quote. Once the application has been reviewed and you have determined shelf life, film structure, laminate type, closure type and finished flexible packaging type with quantities, we can provide a quotation.
Step 5: Test prototype and material. Prototypes are printed ($500 minimum) for the customer to test design, marketing and shelf life. Shelf life is determined by temperatures and relative humidity in which the product is shipped and stored. This is why it is critical that you provide material for testing and you have your customer sign off on the prototypes provided for testing.
Step 6: Produce a small run. To make sure the flexible package is exactly what the customer wants before investing in a large order, produce a short run of pouches. Minimum runs are 2,500 digital pouches per SKU. This will allow your customer to test the design in the market, as well as shelf life of the material.
Step 7: Complete a full production run. The customer has tested the small run and is satisfied and confident in their flexible package decision. The smaller run was a success, and they are ready to invest in a full production run.
Questions You Will Need to Ask Your Customer
If you are not familiar with the information needed for a flexible packaging quote, we have provided a downloadable form to help you through the process.
Economic and Sustainability Insights
The FPA published a new report on sustainable packaging, “A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World.” Download a fact sheet in which the FPA summarized key findings of the report.
Below are graphics from the Flexible Packaging Association that provide economic and sustainability insights.
Aaron Dumke is the vice president of flexible packaging at Repacorp Inc. Dumke’s expertise in flexible packaging enables him to partner with print resellers, helping them select the correct film construction, fitment and closure for their customer’s flexible packaging application.
Marketing and Sales Digital Printing Packaging Sustainability