The global flexible packaging market is one of the fastest-growing segments in the packaging industry. By 2019, its value is expected to reach $99.1 billion, averaging an annual growth rate of 4.4%, according to a report by Transparency Market Research. Underlying this growth are significant developments in flexible packaging for dairy foods that coincide with trends in improving shelf presence, enhancing convenience and enabling recloseability.

Improving shelf presence

Consumers often make purchasing decisions while they compare products on the store shelf. That makes the look of packages in the dairy aisle and throughout grocery stores in general, a very important consideration for brand owners. Brands need visually appealing and engaging packaging.

Recently, brand owners have turned to flexible packaging to improve the look and feel of their packaging for artisanal cheeses and milk. For example, the makers of artisanal cheeses are using vacuum skin packaging, which better enables the use of high-quality graphics. Dairy brand owners are also beginning to package milk in flexible pouches formed into custom shapes to catch the eye of the consumer by breaking up the retail shelf landscape.

Prioritize consumer convenience

In addition to helping dairy brand owners stand out on shelves, flexible packaging is giving dairy processors new options for creative approaches to meeting consumers’ ongoing demand for convenience. The fermented milk drink kefir, for example, is available in squeezable flexible packages, and Kraft has expanded sales of its 1-ounce, single-serving packages of Philadelphia cream cheese to include retail as well as foodservice. Both are examples of catering to on-the-go consumers.

Preserve freshness with reclosable pouches

Mintel’s 2014 Food Packaging Report found 92% of consumers consider preserving freshness packaging’s most important attribute. In response, cheese brands are turning to a variety of closures. For example, some premium shredded cheese brands are using reclosable zippers. The zippers, which improve freshness as well as the perception of freshness, support the brands’ positioning as higher-end products.

In Colombia, leading dairy producer Alqueria is taking the snappy reclosure a step farther, using it with flexible pouches for milk. The result, a stand-up pouch replaces pillow pouches that need insertion in a rigid pitcher for day-to-day dispensing.

Find the latest innovations in flexible packaging

Pack Expo Las Vegas (owned and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies), takes place Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show will feature top-tier exhibitors showcasing the latest flexible packaging solutions for the dairy industry and 40 other vertical markets. Attendees can also discover advanced technologies to increase operational efficiency and safety while reducing production costs and material usage. The Brand Zone, located in the Lower South Hall, will present materials and containers that preserve freshness, reduce waste and enhance brand appeal. Pack Expo will feature the co-location of Pharma Expo, jointly produced by PMMI and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). The combined event is expected to draw nearly 30,000 attendees and more than 2,000 exhibitors in 800,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

 For more information and to register, visit Registration for Pack Expo Las Vegas and Pharma Expo is $30 through Sept. 14, when it increases to $100.