Industry Overview

As one of the fastest growing segments of the packaging industry, flexible packaging combines the best qualities of plastic, film, paper and aluminum foil to deliver a broad range of protective properties while employing a minimum of material.

Typically taking the shape of a bag, pouch, liner, or overwrap, flexible packaging is defined as any package or any part of a package whose shape can be readily changed.

Flexible packages are used for consumer and institutional products and in industrial applications, to protect, market, and distribute a vast array of products.

Leading the way in packaging innovation, flexible packaging adds value and marketability to food and non-food products alike. From ensuring food safety and extending shelf life, to providing even heating, barrier protection, ease of use, resealability and superb printability, the industry continues to advance at an unprecedented rate.

The life cycle attributes of flexible packaging demonstrate many sustainable advantages. Flexible packaging starts with less waste in the first place, greatly reducing landfill discards. Innovation and technology have enabled flexible packaging manufacturers to use fewer natural resources in the creation of their packaging, and improvements in production processes have reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compounds. Even more, lighter-weight flexible packaging results in less transportation-related energy and fossil fuel consumption, and environmental pollution.

With its versatility, custom qualities, efficiency in conserving resources, and sustainability, there’s no better time to consider flexible packaging for your new product line or as an upgrade to an existing package.

  • Innovative
  • Widely Extendible Into Diverse Product Categories
  • Maintains and Indicates Freshness
  • Offers Consumer Conveniences
  • Provides Reclosure and Dispensing Options
  • Is Easily Transported and Stored
  • Creates Shelf Appeal
  • Enables Visibility of Contents
  • Provides Efficient Product to Package Ratios
  • Uses Less Energy
  • Creates Fewer Emissions
  • Creates Less Waste In the First Place®

Definition of Flexible Packaging:

A package or container made of flexible or easily yielding materials that, when filled or closed, can be readily changed in shape. The construction may be of paper, plastic film, foil or any combination of these. Includes rollstock, bags, pouches, bags, pouches, labels/wraps, lidding, shrink sleeves and stretch film.


The Flexible Packaging Association is one of the leading trade associations for converters of flexible packaging and suppliers to the industry. In 2013, the U.S. flexible packaging industry grew 2.8 percent to $27.2 billion in annual sales and the 2014 forecasted growth is 3.8% to $28.2 billion. The flexible packaging industry continues as one of the fastest growing packaging segments in the U.S.


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