Anatomy of a Flexible Pouch

There’s a gigantic world to choose from when deciding on the perfect flexible pouch for your brand. Our options are endless and with the power of the internet – but also farmers markets and the imagination – the ecosystem for what someone can do is endless. 

With so many options on the shelves, there’s an endless supply of ways to customize something like a plow bottom pouch, or a skirt seal pouch, to appeal to every type of customer – everything is up for grabs and you know what? That’s a great thing for your business. 

Knowing what options are available is the X-factor in taking a product from OK to awesome. 

Your packaging is arguably just as important as your product. You want to make sure that you are getting exactly what your product needs to protect that special granola mix, or your scientifically enhanced sports drink powder. 

Promoting the brand in a way that’s natural and effective is the key from breaking sales in the hundreds to the thousands and beyond. 

  • What exactly goes into the construction of a great pouch and how can you be sure you’re choosing the best options? 
  • What’s the best way to navigate the murky waters of so many options out there that are equal in ways to stand out from the rest of the pack? 

We put our heads together and crafted a list that showcases all the ins and outs of what stand up pouches can do for your business.

Read on to learn about the pouch anatomy and what will work best for your product.

Features to Look for In Flexible Pouches

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: design matters from the details to the color scheme. 

If you’re packaging liquids, the gusseted bottom is helpful because the bottoms expand as liquid is poured into it, without losing its ability to maintain its quality.

Pay attention to what makes for functional design, but also what keeps customers happy. Things like: 

  • Hanging Holes
  • Ergonomic Handle –heavy duty with grips 
  • Closable options, round corners
  • Ability to stand once filled
  • Optional poke hole for straw
  • At least three layers: (PET, MET-PET,PE)
  • A stable bottom 
  • High durability
  • Leakage proof

Benefits of Using Flexible Pouches

1. They’re easier for transporting and storing 

Traveling tends to break or damage goods if someone isn’t handling packages with care. 

Pouches are an ideal solution because they are typically lightweight, which reduces shipping costs. 

Another big win is that they are easy to stack for storage purposes, along with are typically resealable. 

2. They’re eco-friendly 

People care about being green. Finding small ways to be impactfully sustainable is on a lot of minds right now and pouches are a big go-to because pouches can be resealed or used to store other products. In some countries, some pouches are even recyclable or biodegradable. 

Digitally Printed Flexible Pouches

The thing about how your packaging looks is that it’s your brand, how it feels in someone’s hands, the look, the feel – your reputation. Your product packaging needs to reflect that. If you want to stop customers in their tracks, it starts with how the product looks.

Consider all the things a digital company can do for you – seriously. There’s the upfront value-add of choosing the pouch:

  • This type of packaging locks in freshness 
  • Durable, protective layers, that are constructed from tough plastics to protect against light, air and moisture
  • The pouch comes in different sizes, which also maximizes space 
  • Heat-sealable to ensure in quality which gives your goods a longer shelf-life
  • Customizable to the customer’s need 
  • Low cost 
  • A workable minimum order workflow that helps businesses of every size 

Flexible Pouch Design

Let’s kick this off by checking out the different variations of flexible packaging pouches you can choose from:

Stand Up Pouches

One of the most well known and popular types of flexible pouches is the stand-up pouch. This pouch is fully formed with a bottom designed to allow the pouch to “stand up” on the shelf. You can find a variety of different products packaged in stand up pouches, including snacks like chips, nuts and granola, as well as frozen foods and jerky.

Types of stand up pouches include:

  • Gusseted Pouches
    • Side gusseted pouches 
    • Bottom gusseted pouches
    • Doyen Pouch (also known as Round Bottom or Doypack) 
    • K-Seal Pouch
    • Plough Bottom Pouch (also referred to as Corner Bottom, plow Bottom or Folded Bottom)  
  • Flat Bottom Pouch
  • Retort Pouch
  • Shaped Pouch 

Lay Flat Pouches

Another style is the lay flat pouch, or pillow pouch, which is a fully formed pouch that is designed to lay flat. 

The main types of lay flat pouches include: 

  • Pillow Pouches
  • 3-Side Seal Pouches
  • Stick Pack Pouches

With stand up and lay flat pouches, the fully formed pouches are created and then shipped to brands for filling and sealing. Rollstock, on the other hand, is engineered film that is sent to brands where they (or their co-packer) would then place it on a form-fill-seal packaging machine to form the pouch. 

This is one of the most popular ways to create flexible packaging for pouches.

Pouch Seals

Next, let’s move to the seal, or the closure of the pouch. All pouches are sealed to keep the package closed and secure. While there are many different reclose options available, a reclose zipper is not always necessary, especially if the pouch is not meant to be consumed over multiple uses. In that case, the top of the pouch can be either cold or heat sealed to deliver a secure seal for shipping and storage. If a reclose seal is needed for your pouch, there are several options to suit any project:


A press-to-close zipper is a great choice due to its popularity with consumers. Zippers render the package resealable, and work great for many types of pouches, including both stand up and lay flat styles. Zippers help to preserve the freshness of the product inside, offer consumer convenience, and prevent spills.

A zipper enclosure is one of the most popular pouch types on the market, due to its durability, but also its dependability.

Powder-Proof Zipper

This type of zipper further aids in consumer convenience, and includes a special feature that helps to keep loose products like flour, sugar, and other powders away from the zipper area, and back into the bag. This type of bag that consumers can open and close the package easily multiple times, without the powder clogging up the zipper track. 

Child-Resistant Zipper

An effective child-resistant zipper makes the package difficult for children under five to open, yet easy enough for adults. They are used in many different markets like pharmaceuticals, supplements, herbal medicines, and household cleaners. A properly certified child-resistant closure is the safest and most functional way to ensure that a reclosable, flexible package meets the requirements for special packaging as stated in the U.S. Poison Prevention Packaging Act. 

Flexible Pouch Bottom Styles

Since we’ve covered a lot of the basics up top, let’s move to the bottom, or base, of the flexible pouch. There are a variety of different bottom gusset styles for stand-up pouches, including:

Doyen Seal

Doyen is a common bottom gusset style in which the u-shaped seal reinforces a large area of the pouch by sealing the front and back panels to the bottom gusset. It enables light weight products to stand up since the bottom seal acts as “feet” for the pouch.


A K-Seal is characterized by a K-style seal at the corners, and a flat bottom seal across the bottom edges of the pouch. 

This is one of the more popular designs when it comes to flexible packaging.

Corner/Plough (Plow) Bottom Style

This style of a plow bottom pouch is typically recommended for heavy items. There is no seal on the bottom of the pouch, only along the corners of the bottom, thus the product sits directly on the bottom of the pouch. 

If you’re looking to store big, bulky items for the long haul, this is a perfect option when coupled with bag layers and thickness.

Skirt Seal

Lastly, the skirt seal pouch refers to a bottom gusset seal that appears “skirted.” Skirt refers to the portion of a bag between the bottom seal and the bottom edge of the bag.

Here is a visual representation of the different flexible pouch bottom styles:

*ePac does not produce doyen-style pouches, only plow bottom, k-seal and skirt seal pouches.

Barriers + Finishes for Flexible Pouches

The protective barrier of the pouch, or the barrier, preserves and protects the contents of the package to maintain freshness, extend shelf life, and prevent damage to the contents. Flexible barrier packaging is generally made from laminated layers or multiple layers of barrier films. Depending on the product you are packaging, your barrier needs will vary. A specific combination of flexible plastics, aluminum, paper, and coating is chosen to create the right barrier protection for the application. There are a variety of different barrier options for moisture, oxygen, and scent protection, blocking these from entering or exiting the package. 

In addition to the pouch barrier, brands can also customize their pouches with finishes. The finish of a pouch are what impact the look and feel of the pouch. Popular finishes include glossy, matte, metalized and soft-touch matte. 

In addition to the pouch barrier, brands can also customize their pouches with finishes. The finish of a pouch is what impacts the look and feel of the pouch. 

Popular finishes include glossy, matte, metalized and soft-touch matte. 

Check your local grocery store for the finishes you think are attractive – that’s a small way to pick and choose, but also make a direct impact on what you’d like to stand out against the market with your packaging. 

Pouch Options / Add Ons

The final part in our pouch anatomy includes the optional add-ons for a pouch. Let’s dive into the most common options for pouches.

We keep talking about the details, the little things that set brands apart and these are those kinds of options consumers care about.

Hang Holes  

Adding a hang hole to your pouch allows for easy retailing. It enables the pouch to hang on a wall or display, for maximum visibility, instead of placing it on the shelf, an important consideration specifically for lay-flat pouches. Hang holes are commonly used on small bags and grab & go bags sold at the point of sale, or in convenience stores. Brands can choose a traditional round hole or a sombrero hole, depending on the needs of the project. 

Tear Notches

Tear notches are small indentations in the film that sit directly below the heat/cold seal area. They aid in consumer convenience because they help users open the package more easily. The notches signal to consumers where to start the tear and then allows them to easily rip the top of the pouch without much force or the use of scissors. If you’re selling road trip snacks, this is the go-to move.


Most flexible packaging applications can be equipped with a transparent or cloudy window, which is a great way to allow consumers to see the contents inside. Windows are gaining in popularity as more brands place emphasis on transparency. Windows can be clouded or clear, based on the type of film chosen for the project. 

A lot of snack brands love the window design, especially if the product is something bright and colorful like candy or natural like granola, nuts, or seeds.

Partnering With a Trusted Flexible Packaging Provider

As you can see, flexible pouch packaging consists of many parts, layers,  features, and add-ons that are customizable for a variety of products. There are many considerations for creating flexible packaging, and our team of flexible packaging experts is here to work with you to create the best flexible retail packaging for your specific project.

We’ve worked with a lot of companies around the globe, so we can show specific examples of what worked to make a company shine. We’d love to help your business do the same. 

Our sales team is highly skilled at knowing how to best advocate for businesses as they’re scaling into new territory from packaging choice to design, or helping walk through complicated processes. 

Have questions? If there’s anything you want to know about flexible packaging or how a stand up pouch can take your business to the next level, let’s talk. Give us a call or request a free quote and we will help you get started with our digital pouch printing and flexible packaging solutions

We’re passionate about helping businesses of every size see their business goals become a reality.

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