“There are different reasons why companies switch to pouches,” said Ulf Wienböcker, chief operating officer at Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging. “They are lightweight, resource and energy-efficient, and will often cost less to produce than the original.”
Like other converters, Mondi still produces foil-containing stand-up pouches (SUPs) for human and pet-food retort markets but also offers foil-free options including the option of clear windows using metal oxide barrier coatings. With or without foil, Wienböcker saw the strongest trend as being towards materials reduction.
Meanwhile, reclosability with zippers, spouts and other dispensing systems have helped pouches to gain a foothold in new markets. For example, Mondi has produced conventionally-shaped SUPs for tea bags, but also a teapot-shaped pack. “There's a lot of growth in shaped pouches, but from a low base,” Wienböcker said.
Beverages are another market where pouches offer distinct advantages. But they can be limited by consumer perceptions for example, in the single-serve segment. Smurfit Kappa, on the other hand, has set its stall in markets for wine and other drinks in the one litre to three litre range with its Pouch-Up product. Above three litres, it offers bag-in-box.
“We've seen a lot of interest from juice fillers, but also cocktails and even drinking yogurt,” said Thierry Minaud, chief executive of Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box. “Now, we have a big brand in France filling juices using our new aseptic system.”
The group has its own tap business Vitop, offering dispensers that are not only tamper-evident and minimise oxygen take-up but are also more compact than ever, said Minaud. Other developments include different options for Pouch-Up such as a shaped and more aesthetically-pleasing profile and handle.