The pulse of the consumer drives packaging design, and currently the buying public wants real food with as few stops as possible from the farm to the dinner table. According to Mintel’s 2014 Food Packaging Report, 92% of respondents believe packaging’s most important attribute is the ability to preserve freshness. The strong barrier protection of most flexible packaging options does just that, which becomes increasingly important as more food manufacturers introduce organic or clean label product lines to meet consumer demands for reduced or zero preservatives.

Manufacturers can match the most appropriate barrier properties of substrates — from aluminum foil to styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) — to the needs of their product.

Flexible packaging is growing in popularity, with the Flexible Packaging Association estimating 3.9% growth in 2014 alone. The gains of advanced attributes among films, increasing functionality and cost-efficiency escalate adoption. Enhanced barrier properties and the inherent light weight of film allow brand owners to cut costs along the supply chain. PMMI’s 2014 Pack Expo International & Pharma Expo trends report noted the proliferation of stand-up pouches, ultrasonic sealing and end-of-line machinery built specifically to handle flexible packaging.

Easy-open and reclose functionality continue to add value to products as well. After all, busy consumer lifestyles demand portable, smaller and single-serve packaging. Retail-ready packaging (RRP) also has given secondary packaging a new face — and an added purpose. Big box and warehouse stores utilize RRP to enhance shelf presence and increase efficiency in stocking shelves.

Manufacturers on the lookout for new packaging formats and materials will find a wide range of technologies and resources at Pack Expo Las Vegas, to be held Sept. 28-30 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition to seeing the latest processing and packaging innovations up close, the free educational programming of the Innovation Stage will present updates on breakthrough technologies and best practices across a variety of applications. For registration and more information about the show and Innovation Stage, visit

Registration for Pack Expo Las Vegas and Pharma EXPO is $30 through Sept. 14, when it increases to $100.