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

Packaging experts around the globe are in agreement: the flexible packaging market is booming. It’s easy to see why: flexible packaging is cost-effective, simple to bring to market and highly customizable. 

There’s a solution for just about every business type and whether you’re working within a strict budget or looking for something that pops on the shelf, a variety of choices are out there. The flexible packaging revolution is here to stay.

Look around your local supermarket, Target or Walmart and you’ll see the evidence. 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. Flexible packaging lasts longer on the shelf and it looks good, too, thanks to the ability for brands to customize just about every inch, providing a specific look and feel that customers love thanks to expressive color and design.

Benefits of Rollstock

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).

  1. Versatility

Rollstock packaging is highly versatile and can accommodate a wide variety of products, ranging from granola bars and packaged snacks to single-serve sample packs or stick packs. It is particularly suitable for brands seeking to create pillow pouches, packets, sachets, and lay-flat pouches using their own pouch-making equipment.

  1. Cost-effectiveness

Rollstock packaging is a cost-effective solution that yields tangible results for every dollar spent. Not only does it possess an appealing aesthetic, but it also offers heat and high abrasion resistance, along with customizable barrier protection. The combination of cost-effectiveness and visual appeal makes rollstock packaging a favorite among brands and consumers alike.

  1. Compatibility with FFS Machinery

It’s important to note that rollstock packaging requires the use of Form, Fill, Seal (FFS) machinery. Whether you choose to purchase your own equipment or collaborate with a co-packer, FFS machines are essential for forming the package, filling it with product, and sealing the bag or pouch. 

Running rollstock on an FFS machine is ideal for projects that demand high speeds, high output, and long production runs. If you are partnering with a co-packer or co-manufacturer for your packaging needs, rollstock packaging is a viable and efficient option.

What is Rollstock?

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. We’ve created a comprehensive list of why rollstock packaging is a great option for businesses of every size.

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 packaging is best suited for brands looking to create pillow pouches, packets, sachets and lay flat pouches using their own pouch-making equipment.

At ePac, we’ve seen a cadre of brands use this kind of packaging for everything from energy drinks to cookies. Rollstock packaging is a cost-effective way for brands to see real results for every dollar spent.People love rollstock packaging because it not only looks great, but offers heat and high abrasion resistance, along with customizable barrier protection.

JUST AN FYI: 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 can produce 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.

Stand up pouches from our friends at Paleo Powder

Benefits of Pouches

Preformed pouches, including stand-up pouches and lay-flat pouches, offer a range of advantages that make them a popular choice in the flexible packaging landscape. Consider the following benefits:

  1. Convenience

One of the key advantages of preformed pouches is their convenience. These pouches are fully-formed and ready for filling and sealing, eliminating the need for Form, Fill, Seal (FFS) machinery. 

They’re manufactured by flexible packaging manufacturers like ePac, making them an excellent option for brands that lack access to FFS equipment or prefer not to invest in it. With preformed pouches, you can streamline your packaging process, focus on efficient filling and sealing, and save valuable time and resources.

  1. Flexibility and Easy Changeovers

Preformed pouches offer inherent flexibility, making them well-suited for projects with shorter runs. They allow for easier changeovers, particularly when multiple pouch sizes, shapes, or styles are required. 

If you anticipate the need to switch between different pouch configurations throughout the day, using preformed pouches on an automatic pouch packing machine is the way to go. The flexibility of preformed pouches enables agile packaging operations and swift adaptation to evolving market demands.

  1. Customization and Brand Appeal

Pouches provide ample opportunities for customization, allowing your brand to make a strong visual statement. Whether it’s a stand-up pouch, lay-flat pouch, child-resistant pouch, or stick pack, you can choose the size, film material, features, and structure that align with your product and brand identity. 

Pouches serve as a canvas for creative design, enabling you to captivate customers and differentiate your products on the crowded shelves. The ability to customize pouches contributes to enhanced brand appeal and market presence.

Many brands choose this form of packaging 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 several times in the same day, using preformed pouches on an automatic pouch packing machine is the way to go. 

Just like in the name, this is one of the examples of why flexible packaging is just that – flexible. Between budgets and time constraints, there are a lot of factors that go into what a packaging run will look like, in the number of packages printed, but also changeover.

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 perform better packaged in something like 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 perform with better results when using rollstock. But many premium snacks, pet foods, and even dairy perform well in preformed pouches.

Consider granola bars, for a tangible 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. It really comes down to the product and what suits the needs of what you’re selling, and how to get customers excited, even in small ways. That’s why the conversation of rollstock packaging or preformed pouches is a meaningful one.

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. (If you have any questions about rollstock packaging or preformed pouches, we’re here to help. Our sales team has seen it all.)

Choosing a Packaging Partner

At ePac we can help you determine the best film and package style for your specific project. There are many packaging variations out there and standing out is critical to see your brand make a splash in the marketplace. 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. Because of our years of experience, we can help guide you through the process of finding the right solution – like rollstock packaging for your company.

We’ve got 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.

We’ve worked with businesses of every shape and size and would love to collaborate on taking your brand to the next level whether it’s a lay flat pouch or through rollstock packaging. There’s an option for every brand out there.

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