The popularity of flexible pouch printing has increased since digital printing became available for these materials in 2014. Improvements in packaging materials and design enable food producers to customize durable and sustainable food-grade films with crisp lettering, brilliant colors and photo-quality images. These innovations are driving several emerging trends in snack food packaging.
Recent consumer surveys identify a growing preference for environmentally-friendly product packaging. Sustainable flexible packaging for snack food requires fewer resources to produce than materials such as aluminum, glass or rigid PET and has a smaller shipping footprint. Food producers can choose from a wide range of package designs such as lay-flat or stand-up pouches with a choice of films and finishes.
The most popular flexible packaging materials are polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and biaxially-oriented polypropylene film. All of these materials are recyclable and can be paired with recyclable films to preserve the quality of snack foods while minimizing waste. Resealable packages provide an easy way for customers to store products to prolong freshness. After being recycled, PE, PET and BOPP packages are re-purposed into new packaging and other materials.
Wide-web digital printing gives food producers access to almost unlimited options for package design. This method of branding and labeling snack food packaging relies on PDF images rather than plates, which makes bringing new designs to market more affordable. Print runs of any size, including runs that involve multiple stockkeeping units, can be completed in a cost-effective manner. Variable data printing allows brands to create unique packaging.
Flexible package design should give consumers the best perception of a brand and product. Photo-quality images and accurate and consistent color matching and registration make it possible to clearly present brand names and logos along with product images and information. In addition to choosing the best packaging material and design for a particular product, snack food producers can also select a matte, soft touch or gloss finishes for a look and feel that contributes toward consumer perceptions of quality.
Consumer demand for food labeling that is easy to read and understand is also on the rise. Food packaging should identify ingredients, dietary information and allergens. Digital printing makes it easier for food producers to clearly describe snack foods on packaging, from indicating whether products are organic, gluten-free or non-GMO to suggesting serving sizes to including information about a brand or product.
The broader ethos of transparency extends to revealing the contents of packages. Flexible packaging with clear panels can show the contents of a package to reinforce consumer confidence. These trendy designs can make any well-packaged product even more competitive on store shelves. In addition to providing information about a snack food or food producer, package designs can also point out the use of recyclable or sustainable packaging materials.
Flexible pouch printing makes it easier for snack food producers to keep up with market trends. Packaging and printing services work with food companies to identify the best materials for any product and complete print jobs in a cost-effective and efficient manner using the latest digital printing technology.