Types of Flexible Packaging and Their Advantages

April 28,2022 Category: Packaging Development
Flexible packaging, in its many shapes and sizes, has provided a variety of industries with a beneficial alternative to more rigid packaging materials. The unique features of flexible packaging make it an ideal fit for many kinds of products, and understanding the advantages of those features can help drive decisions that that optimize sustainability and product protection and reduce costs for your packaging department.

Types of Flexible Packaging

While pouches may be the first images that come to mind when thinking about flexible packaging, there are many options that may suit a specific product or distribution strategy. Since pouches are the most common and relevant, let’s start there.

Pouches: Pouches are the most recognizable form of flexible packaging. A pouch is made of thin plastic, metal and/or paper material. They work well for a variety of different, including liquids, creams, tablets, gel-caps and granular powders. Pouches are common in food and beverage and pharmaceutical packaging due to their security and protection qualities. Since they require little material and are lightweight, pouches make distribution and transportation easy on the manufacturer, shipper and consumer.

Sachets: Sachets are similar to pouches. In fact, they’re sometimes referred to as “small pouches.” Sachets differ from pouches in that their contents are sealed (welded) on all four sides, typically containing a one-time-use product, such as an alcohol wipe. Sachets often come in the form of laminated paper or an aluminum or PET film.

Wrappers: Wrapping a product (for example the plastic film around a water bottle) is another example of flexible packaging. Wrappers are commonly used to brand products, providing visibility and identity to consumers. Twist wrappers are another form of flexible packaging that is often made from cellophane and used for products that don’t require significant protection characteristics. Twist wrappers are often seen on products like candy and confectionery products.

While most products can be packaged with more rigid materials such as corrugated cardboard or glass, flexible packaging offers numerous advantages that allow brands to make the most of their product. That is due in part to the materials they’re made from.


The materials used for flexible packaging are made from either plastic polymers or a blend of materials such as coated paperboard, foil or paper. Every kind of film has different properties, and their uses depend on the product. For packaging that doesn’t use flexible polymer-based film as its main material, film can be used as a laminate for aluminum or metalized materials. Polymer films are also used to add layers to a package, providing extra protection against damage such as tearing, puncturing or unsealing. There are dozens of different types of materials available, and what works best for a product depends on what characteristics the packaging must have, and the style of flexible packaging you’re using.

Advantages for Your Brand

Packaging teams are always looking for ways to reduce costs and improve sustainability while maintaining adequate protection for a product, and  flexible packaging can contribute to those goals and more.
  • Design: Flexible packaging material allows you to easily tailor your packaging to meet the design, shape and size needs of the product it’s protecting. Pouches, for example, come in more than a dozen styles, from pillow bags to gusseted bags, pirouette bags, etc. Selecting the right style, and then designing it to give the product an appealing identity, can easily be done on a large scale with flexible packaging.
  • Material Usage: Unlike other packaging materials, flexible packaging materials are highly elastic and malleable. Different types of material will have different characteristics - some might provide better sealing capabilities - others increase visibility. All flexible packaging, however, requires less material, thereby reducing waste and consumption.
  • Sustainable: Besides reducing waste and consumption, some flexible packaging materials are biodegradable and many others are recyclable. Using an eco-friendly material helps reduce packaging’s environmental impact and promotes a circular economy.
  • Protection: The films used for flexible packaging have high protection qualities. The materials used are both durable and pliable. This reduces damage and the associated costs, providing peace of mind while the product is in transit and on store shelves.
  • Shelf life: Many flexible packaging material types offer enhanced shelf life, as most of them are less permeable than materials such as cardboard. This also helps preserve flavor, aroma and the appearance of products - especially food products.
  • Lightweight: Flexible packaging materials weigh next to nothing. This lightens the load (literally) on distribution, giving you more options for shipping, boxing, and palleting.
  • Versatility: From small to large runs and for a variety of different products, flexible packaging is used across many industries. Custom-made labels, wrappers and packages allow brands to maximize the potential of their packaging. The soft and flexible nature of the materials can be molded to the visual presentation you desire.
  • Cost Savings: Flexible packaging materials are often less expensive than rigid materials, and other benefits, such as shelf life, product protection and weight also help to reduce costs.

Flexible packaging materials allow brands to innovate and reach cost-savings and sustainability goals set for their packaging department. It also provides consumers with convenience and transparency, giving shoppers confidence in their purchasing decisions.

Flexible Packaging for Your Products

The engineers at Adept Group have introduced or enhanced flexible packaging for many clients, from small regional brands to Fortune 500 companies. Our work with flexible materials for products in a variety of industries provides us with the experience to help your brand identify the packaging that will work best for your products. Reach out to our team to learn how we can transform your packaging.