Dow has launched a single material stand up pouch in the US that is 100% recyclable and can be used to package confectionery.
The 100% polyethylene pouch had been trialled with frozen food in Latin America and was introduced to the US market at Pack Expo in Las Vegas last week.
Mono-material more sustainable
Nestor De Mattos, North America group marketing director for Dow, told ConfectioneryNews: “It’s a mono-material, where as the stand up pouch technology that’s available out there right now usually uses different materials, which can represent a lot of troubles when you try to recycle.”
Pouch structures are usually made of a mix of polyester and polyethylene, or polypropylene and polyethylene. These materials cannot be separated when they go into the recycling stream.
“Having one material only makes it way easier to do it,” said De Mattos.
Cost & barrier protection
He said the cost of the 100% polyethylene pouch was competitive but did not reveal the premium manufacturers must pay.
The technology does not currently offer high barrier protection, but Dow is working on making it a possibility in future. This means the pouches may not be suitable for confections needing high barrier protection such as gummies.
“This technology is in the early stages, so we have several different concepts that we are testing out. One that is proven already is frozen food.”
At the show, Dow was exhibiting a frozen chicken pack made for Tyson Foods, which launched in Mexico City.
Graphics and resealing systems
Dow has yet to metalize the inside of its pouch, but De Mattos said that it should be possible.
The PE pouches may require some minor adjustment for packaging machines, but resealing features and the latest graphic technologies such as high-resolution gravure printing are all supportable.
Stand up pouch preferences
The growth of stand up pouches for confectioners was well highlighted at Pack Expo.
Show organizers PMMI (The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies) said in its 2013 Confectionery Trends – Market Assessment report, which interviewed 72 people in the industry, that mass-market confectioners were shifting towards flexible packaging.
"Stand up pouches, with or without zippers, were often mentioned as one of the fastest growing types of packaging. Flow-pack fin seals are also expected to remain very popular,” said the report.