Maybe there's more to pouches than meets the eye. A new study states the demand for pouches in the U.S. is projected to increase 5.1% per year to $8.8 billion in 2016.
Unit demand is expected to expand 3.0% yearly to 90 billion.
The study, conducted by The Freedonia Group, said this increased demand is driven by faster gains for stand-up pouches stemming from what they stated as "sustainable, functional, and marketing advantages over alternative packaging."
Growing consumer acceptance of pouches as an alternative to rigid containers will sustain demand, as will such advantages as aesthetic appeal, portability, light weight, reduced material use, and significantly lower shipping costs than rigid containers, the study says.
In addition, heightened use of reclosing and dispensing components may increase the competitiveness of pouches against rigid containers.
Stand-up pouch demand is forecast to expand 7.2% annually to $2 billion in 2016. This reflects heightened interest among packaged goods companies resulting from savings achieved in shipping costs due to the benefits of lighter weight and lower material use compared to rigid containers.
Demand for flat pouches is anticipated to increase 4.5% yearly to $6.8 billion in 2016, fueled by above average gains for four-side-seal pouches based on rising demand in medical and pharmaceutical markets and in food uses such as meat, poultry, seafood, and cheese, according to the study.
More than a packaging trend?
Pouches have gained traction recently with more packaged food makers switching from bottles and cans to pouches. Marketers claim pouches can provide brands with an opportunity to support elaborate graphics and another avenue to broadcast the brand's message.
Overall pouch use in consumer products has increased 37% since 2007, according to the Mintel Group Ltd, a market research firm.
Back in March 2012, PlasticsToday talked with R. Charles Murray, CEO of PPi Technologies Group, who believed "it takes a lot to beat the pouch."
PPi Technologies is the largest stand-up pouch machinery company in the U.S., with about 35% of the market, according to Murray.
"The pouch reduces our need for millions of pounds of PET material," he said. "The bottle uses more energy to get made and delivered for filling. The pouch, in comparison, uses about two-thirds less and has the lowest carbon footprint of any package."
Since that article was published, there has been story after story about big-name brands and smaller companies offering their consumer products in pouches.
For example, the Parrot Bay and Smirnoff brand launched their new lines of frozen malt-beverage pouches, available in single 10-oz pouches.
The company markets the pouch as "ready to serve right from your freezer, you can now enjoy and entertain guests, responsibly of course, with frozen island drinks you love anytime, without the use of a blender."
Buddy Fruits, all-natural fruit snack provider, recently debut its Superfruit pouch. The release of the new product follows just weeks after the company revealed the market's first coconut milk pouch, Cocomilk and Fruit.
Both new products come in a 4.2-oz pouch, larger than the company's other fruit snacks.
"Buddy Fruits Superfruit pouch combines the superfruit health phenomenon with the convenience of the squeezable pouch trend," said Fabian Milon, co-founder of Buddy Fruits.
Campbell Soup Co. recently introduced several varieties of pouch soups in a range of distinctive global flavors, such as Coconut Curry and Moroccan Chicken."These new consumer propositions are just the beginning," Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said.
This brings up an age-old question: When does a product bypass the trend stage and become a staple?