Rollstock vs. Pouches: Which is Best for Your Product?

Packaging experts around the globe are in agreement: the flexible packaging market is booming. 

Flexible packaging accounts for 19% of the overall packaging market and is expected to grow at a rate of 3.9% CAGR by 2023, according to the 2019 Flexible Packaging Marketing Assessment by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. Demand is driven by the packaging’s flexibility, ease of use, and how lightweight it is, as well as the rising popularity of ready-to-eat foods. 

Within this growing segment, the two most common types of flexible packaging are rollstock and pouch packaging (such as stand up pouches and lay flat pouches). Rollstock is printed and laminated film on a roll that is then used with Form, Fill, Seal (FFS) machinery that forms the package, fills it with product, and seals the bag or pouch closed. Preformed pouches, on the other hand, are just that; pouches you purchase already formed, and are ready for filling and sealing by machine, or by hand.

If you’re trying to decide whether rollstock or a pouch is best for your brand, continue reading.

The Role of Rollstock

Ideal for a wide variety of products — everything from granola bars to packaged snacks to single-serve sample packs or stick packs — rollstock is best suited for brands looking to create pillow pouches, packets, sachets and lay flat pouches using their own pouch-making equipment.

As you consider which packaging style to use, know that with rollstock you’ll need access to FFS machinery, whether you purchase your own equipment or work with a co-packer. 

In general, for projects requiring high speeds, high output and long runs, running rollstock on an FFS machine is best, and is capable of producing more packages per minute than filling preformed pouches. If you’re partnering with a co-packer or co-manufacturer for your packaging, rollstock is a great option. 

The Power of Preformed Pouches

Ideal for a wide range of products and markets including solids, powders, and liquids, stand up pouches and lay flat pouches offer consumer convenience, are environmentally friendly, and work to extend the shelf life of many products. Pouches are best suited for brands looking to package products on their own, or with the help of a co-packer.

With preformed or finished pouches, you eliminate the need for FFS machinery as these are fully-formed and fillable pouches manufactured by flexible packaging converters like ePac. If you don’t have FFS machinery, or access to one via a co-packer, buying preformed pouches may be the best choice for you. 

Stand up pouches from our friends at Paleo Powder

Many brands choose this route because pouches are generally more suited to projects with shorter runs since they offer more flexibility and easier changeovers. This means if you will be making many different pouch sizes, shapes, or styles and need to change over a number of times in the same day, using preformed pouches on an automatic pouch packing machine is the way to go.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Packaging 

Looking at the two packaging options, you’ll really need to consider the product you’ll be packaging. Will your product do better in a sleeve, a bag, a stand up pouch, or a lay flat pouch? 

For example, many candy items, baked goods, protein bars, and many other small, single-serve packaged snacks do well with rollstock. But many premium snacks, pet foods, and even dairy perform well in preformed pouches.

Consider granola bars, for example. Granola bars are generally flow-wrapped on an FFS machine. But for other granola products like loose granola, or granola bites, stand up pouches are oftentimes better suited.

Stand up pouch from our friends at Safe + Fair

As you make your decision of choosing rollstock or preformed pouches, know that there is no one right answer for everybody. Consider the product you’re packaging, the look you’re going for, the equipment you have access to, and the equipment investment you want to make. And then, be sure to work with the best packaging partner that can cater to your needs and help you get to market fast.

Choosing a Packaging Partner

At ePac we can help you determine the best film and package style for your specific project. With rollstock, we work with you to determine the right material, specs, and features, then provide the printed + laminated film for you to form your own flexible retail packaging with your FFS or copacker. And when buying flexible pouch packaging, we will work with you to determine which size, film, features, and structure is necessary to create a high-quality custom pouch shipped to your door, ready for filling. Whether it’s a stand up, lay flat, child resistant pouch, or stick pack, we have you covered.

At ePac, we have the expertise, experience, and quality products for all your packaging needs. Call us today to learn more, or click here to get a free quote.