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Add Flexibility – Label and Narrow Web

The last two years have put our industry to the test. Suppliers, processors and brands have navigated uncharted waters of a global pandemic, supply chain challenges, natural disasters, staff shortages, among others. Customers also want their products from yesterday – at lower prices and with better quality than ever before. The industry has taken the hits, remaining flexible in the face of uncertainty.

There is also another kind of flexibility in the minds of converters. As label printers look for new ways to grow their business, flexible packaging has moved to the top of the list. These products are economical, environmentally friendly and practical for our active lifestyle. By browsing the aisles of any grocery store, shoppers can quickly spot this trend in many forms of food packaging.

The numbers also confirm this. According to a new market study by MarketsandMarkets, the flexible plastic pouches market size was estimated at $53.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 6.5. %. Food accounts for the largest market share due to the flexibility and low weight of the structure, as well as the protection offered by flexible packaging against contaminants. The lightness of these packaging products also coincides perfectly with the rise of e-commerce, making shipping easier and more cost-effective.

“The flexible packaging’s durable material and construction, along with its many design possibilities, make it an ideal packaging solution for many food products,” says Renee Schouten, Director of Marketing for INX International Ink Co. Not only is this great for product protection, but it also has promotional benefits for a brand.For example, you can offer samples or travel versions of products, attach the samples to promotional materials, or distribute them at events. All of these options can expose your brand and product to new customers. The range of possible flexible packaging shapes and sizes is incredibly wide.”

“Flexible packaging has one of the highest growth rates in the printed packaging landscape,” adds Tom Hauenstein, Vice President of Sales at S-One Labels & Packaging.

We dig deeper into the benefits of flexible packaging in our article on food packaging (page 50). Equipment manufacturers, such as Mark Andy, are optimizing their presses to suit this application, while substrate suppliers, such as Avery Dennison, have designed materials to meet the growing demand that is increasing day by day.

Flexible packaging is explored in more detail in our Sustainability Spotlight (page 48), as S-OneLP was recently recognized by TLMI for its sustainable solutions for label and flexible packaging converters. Meanwhile, Inspection Equipment (page 62) and Static Control (page 68) products continue to be designed to ensure flawless printing.

Converters will continue to position themselves for post-pandemic life, and new applications, such as flexible packaging and shrink sleeves, will gain market share. As we prepare for a series of industry events in the spring, one of the key trade show topics will be flexibility – both in operations and applications.

Greg Hrinya, editor