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.

Stick Pack Packaging: Is It Right for Your Brand?

When it comes to convenience, you can’t beat stick pack packaging. Whether you’re looking to create a sample package, or add single-serving size pouches to your product line, sticks packs are a unique way to package your products and attract new customers.

Stick pack pouches are a type of flexible packaging characterized by their small size and narrow shape. They are typically used to pack dry powders (though occasionally some liquids, gels, and semi-solids) for convenient use on the go. They are the ideal package for single-serve applications, sample sizes, and products that are stocked at the point of purchase at retailers.

The Growth of Stick Pack Packaging 

According to a Acumen Research & Consulting study, the global stick packaging market is anticipated to be valued at around $1,750.5 million by 2026. The rise in demand for stick packaging for single-serve in nutraceuticals (think protein powder or collagen) is expected to drive the growth of the global market as the trend toward health and fitness spreads amongst consumers. The food and beverage industries are also anticipated to drive growth in the global stick packaging market. And, it’s worth noting that demand is growing in the flexible packaging space as a whole, which is further fostering growth in the segment. 

It’s no surprise that stick pack packaging popularity is on the rise. Like all flexible packaging, including stand up pouches and bags, stick packs are lightweight, convenient, and highly portable. Their single-serve size serves as a unique selling point for consumers, providing a simple application that doesn’t require measuring, storage, and the clean up associated with full-size packaging. When produced with quality packaging materials, stick packs can also serve as a tool for keeping products fresh and lengthening the shelf life.

Stick Packs in Different Markets

As you consider if stick packs are right for your brand, we recommend first determining the type of product you are packaging. As aforementioned, stick packs are a great package for powdered or granular products, as well as gels and liquids.

The following industries can benefit from using single-serve stick packs in specific ways:  

  • Nutritional supplements including powdered vitamin mixes, energy blends, protein powders, and collagen. Using stick packs in this segment allows fitness and health-conscious users to follow the proper ratio for usage and consume these products on the go, including at the gym or health club.
  • Products in the pharmaceutical industry including single-serve medicines. Stick packs offer users the benefit of a single dose to avoid confusion concerning dose inconsistencies and risks related to them, as well as provide travel ease.
  • Cosmetics such as makeup or lotion samples allow consumers to test out your product or use them in their toiletries as travel products. 
  • Coffee and tea products like instant coffee or tea allow users to make one cup on the go, and work well for use in hotels and restaurants. 
  • In the dairy segment, products like yogurt, powdered milk, and creamers are kept fresh and ready for use. Stick packs give this segment incredible portability and single-serve, portion control use.
  • In the spices and sweeteners market, stick packs help users get the right ratio, and portion control for single-serve use on the go.
  • And for other powdered beverages like hot cocoa mix, mushroom coffee/other mushroom blends, and herbal elixirs, stick packs help to maintain freshness, ensure proper product to water (or other liquid) ration, and allow for easy use on the go.

Designing Custom Stick Pack Packaging 

As you design your stick packs, consider the following:

Design Space

Stick packs have less design real estate than larger packages, so determine the most important information that you need to include on the package. This may include your logo, flavor information, and directions for use.  


This one is a no brainer, but definitely worth mentioning. If you’re launching a stick pack alongside other packaging formats in your product lineup, ensure it is consistent with your branding. Although stick packs are small, they should still properly reflect your overall branding, and match any of your larger packages so consumers can recognize your brand immediately.  

Include Instructions

Provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to use your product. Since stick packs are generally single-serve, be sure consumers know the proper way to use the product, like serving instructions, as well as proper ratio usage for best results. 

Follow FDA Guidelines

If you are planning to sell your packets individually, ensure all required information is on the pouch. This includes FDA guidelines surrounding labeling and nutrition facts. Luckily, there are special labeling provisions for small packages like stick packs, depending on the overall size of the package. Special abbreviations are allowed, as well as even omitting some information, again depending on the overall size. If space is limited on the label, know that there is flexibility to adjust non-required graphic elements to help fit the nutrition label to the available space. You can find more details here

Partnering With The Right Stick Pack Manufacturer

Finding a packaging manufacturer that offers stick pack packaging services is key. If you’re ready to start creating the best quality and fully custom stick pack flexible packaging, look no further than ePac. At ePac, we have experts on hand to help you every step of the way as you design and create the right powder packet packaging or other custom flexible packaging for your brand. Click here to request a free quote, or give us a call. 

Slice of Sauce Finds the Solution It Needs with High-Quality Barrier Protection from ePac

When it comes to condiments and their packaging, not a ton has changed over the years. But a new brand is shaking up the market with its classic ketchup and spicy sriracha slices that promise to save your sandwich or burger from sogginess. 

Slice of Sauce is based in Austin, Texas and run by owners Cole and Emily Williams. The tale goes that Emily created the product by “happy accident” when she was recreating one of her dad’s barbecue sauce recipes. Part of the recipe involved braising vegetables, then discarding them. Not wanting to waste them, Williams instead dehydrated the veggies and they turned into a solid sheet of barbecue sauce. Curious, she tasted it and declared it awesome, thus beginning Slice of Sauce.

Getting the Slices Started

The company started in 2018 when after the barbecue sauce “accident,” the husband and wife duo began a Kickstarter campaign that went viral.

“It was a great success! The challenge then was to find scalable manufacturers, and the right manufacturing partners,” said Cole Williams, Co-Founder and General Manager, Slice of Sauce. 

Part of finding the right partners involved a lot of trial and error. Initially, the company hired a conventional printer overseas to create the pouches for the slices, but the package quality left much to be desired. 

“The original package from China was flimsy and cheap, and did not have the right barriers,” said Williams. “The product began to oxidize and was turning dark right away. We knew we needed a higher-quality package.” 

The team also wanted a package design upgrade after originally using artwork that Emily created herself. The packaging design and branding firm they hired created the new packages’ artwork, featuring a two-toned color palette with a signature bite design that works as a whole to delight and inform consumers about the brand. With the new design finalized, the duo moved on to the next pressing issue: finding a new packaging partner that could address the quality issues they were facing.

Luckily, the Slice of Sauce team met ePac at an event hosted by Naturally Austin and it was a perfect match. The duo wasn’t very familiar with digital printing, especially in regards to consumer packaged goods, but Williams says he primarily felt excited to learn more about the technology and the solutions it would provide. 

Custom Packaging for Packets of Sliced Ketchup

Today, ePac creates the matte, 3 ounce, resealable lay flat pouches that each hold 8 slices of sauce. ePac’s high quality film has all the barrier properties necessary to prevent the slices from oxidizing in the package, keeping them fresh. And inside the pouch, similar to a cheese package, each sauce slice is separated with parchment paper. 

Not only did ePac print a better-quality package that extended the shelf life of the sauce, but the technology allowed the company to take advantage of the perks of digital printing.

“The new package from ePac is far superior than what we had before. Plus, we’ve been able to do short runs, which was so crucial to us as we were developing the brand. We were making changes often, be it a formula change, or recipe tweak. So, the ability to work with ePac to print off a smaller number, and make changes quickly with a super short lead time has been really helpful and easy,” said Williams.

After two years of hard work, Slice of Sauce is preparing for its official launch to market this November and is taking pre-orders for the two sliced sauce varieties. The product will be available online only for the first year on the company website, Amazon, and via Thrive Market.

“We’ve been working on refining our processes and our product over the last two years. In those two years we’ve talked to thousands of people and demo’d the product a ton. We went to tons of events in Austin where we got to test the market, and we got some feedback. Two years later, we finally landed on the right partnerships,” said Williams. 

The Future of the Slice

In addition to e-commerce distribution, Slice of Sauce has plans to launch some new flavors and varieties of sliced condiments early next year, including a co-branded product with Secret Aardvark hot sauce. And while the COVID-19 pandemic did set the sliced ketchup packets company back a little with their grassroots efforts approach, Williams says they are leaning into their captive online audience.

“More recently we’ve been using social media and video to launch the brand, instead of in-person demos. People are on screens more and always online, so we’ve been having fun connecting with our audience that way,” said Williams.  

And the audience has given a lot of positive feedback about both the sliced ketchup singles and its packaging. 

“We’ve done a lot of testing and asked consumers, ‘does the packaging tell the right story, is it descriptive enough?’ and people look at it and they’re blown away. It looks so different than what is on the shelf. It catches their eye; it’s so bright, so bold! People are really taken by it,” said Williams. 

Benefits of a Custom Packaging Partner

Are you looking for a better solution for your organic food packaging as you launch or relaunch your brand? With digital printing, you’ll enjoy a fast turnaround and the ability to print short runs, make changes on the fly, and most importantly work with experts in the field to help you determine the right film for any project. Call ePac today for a free quote.