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Rigid packaging and flexible packaging are two popular packaging classifications. Depending on the specific type of products, we can tell exactly which one should be chosen. However, it is really hard to opt for the best suit between flexible or rigid packaging. What are the shortcomings of the two?

Scroll down to check them out!

Rigid and flexible packaging: Detailed definition

Flexible packaging is light bags or boxes sealed using heat or pressure. As the name suggests, these packs can be customized and reshaped easily. The cost for mass production of this type is low and it also offers slight protection for the content inside from perforation.

Examples: Foil packaging, air bubble pouches, bubble wrap, courier bags, paper bag, non-woven bags, or adhesive tapes.

Conversely, rigid packaging is at the opposing end of the spectrum. This type of packaging design is heavier, more expensive and offers more sturdy protection.

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Extra information

Made of sturdy paperboard overlaid with embellished leather or fabric wraps, rigid box offer great protection and tinge of luxury.

Rigid boxes promote a high sense of beauty that many customers often keep it for good (normally with jewelry or electronics). As a result, rigid packaging aids in stimulating long-term product/brand awareness.

Noticeably, rigid packaging has the obvious edge over folding carton.

  • Lower costs and time: Folding carton require assembly before being used. Rigid box do not.
  • Hassle-free to open and reseal: Rigid box usually has removable lids which folding cartons do not.

The global rigid packaging market is on the rise and is expected to reach US$800 billion by 2024. Similarly, the flexible packaging market annual growth rate is at 3.95% and cross $299 billion by 2024. Nonetheless, nearly 50% of brand owners are switching to flexible packaging to save costs.

The main differences between the two lie in construction, durability, customizability, and flexibility.

Flexible and rigid packaging: Size is the first noticeable difference

From the above-mentioned definition, it is easy to see that rigid packaging is way heavier than flexible packaging because the materials are denser and much thicker.

Furthermore, as the rigid cannot be folded during delivery, this type of packaging accounts for many more spaces. On the other hand, flexible packaging is a top-notch choice for soft content.

Durability and Barrier Properties

Rigid boxes do a better job of protecting the inner content. However, it is more vulnerable to the outside scratch and destroys. On the other hand, flexible packaging tends to be a more suitable option during long-haul shipping as long as not being pierced by sharp objects.

The rigid box is trusted by many to use as the container for fragile goods. Electronic items –like computer processors, smartphones, cameras, televisions, jewelry, and precious gems are gently put in rigid boxes coupled with styrofoam or bubble wraps.

The cost of rigid packaging is tiny-teeny in comparison with the product itself. This packaging type is containers for cheaper products such as Chips, biscuits, bread, milk, frozen food, sauces, creams, etc.

Flexible packaging in the food sector

Flexible packaging is becoming prominent in the food packaging niche. One of the most noticeable ones is the retort pouch, which earns its fame for the great protective property. It is made up of multiple layers of polymers and often metalized sheets, such as aluminum.

This offers chemical and thermal shielding to the products on the inside and is used as an alternative to traditional industrial canning methods. Packaged foods range from liquids to fully cooked, thermo-stabilized (heat-treated) high-calorie meals which can be eaten cold, warmed by submerging in hot water.

Branding

Flexible packaging is extremely easy to customize because its versability allows designers lots of room to develop great creativity. The marketing department applies colors and graphics on the products to reflect the brand or campaign without difficulty.

Things are not the same with rigid packaging. Normally,  to add some more details on rigid boxes,  the executives must print them out separately and resort to adhesives to combine parts. This, sadly,  adds more cost to the overall design budget at the end.

Environmental impact

Depending on the materials, the two types of packaging affect the environment at different levels. Rigid box using solely paperboard can be easily recycled.

However, it becomes tougher if the materials are mixed. For example, paperboard boxes are lined with plastic films or plastic pouches with metallic laminates.

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Flexible and rigid packaging: What to choose?

There is no right or wrong when deciding what type of packaging design to apply. There are wide arrays of relevant factors to think about before jumping into a conclusion. They are as follows:

Budget

Flexible packaging costs much less, occupy less space

Product state (Solid, Liquid, Gas)

Flexible packaging is a liquid container. Hard and precious pieces of goods require rigid boxes.

Special Requirements to protect the inner content

Flexible outers ensure greater barrier properties. That is the reason why it is the go-to solution for foods in general. In case the products need protection from high heat or being perishable, rigid packs are the chosen ones.

Shipping process

Rigid boxes cannot remain the content the same if tossed or physically rolled. Flexible is clearly better at this. But we should be conscious about the fact that rigid packaging is easier to stack and stock.

Consumer experience

Rigid boxes are kept longer and usually display succinct indicators needed for that product. Flexibility bags are easier to carry, open and reseal.

Branding

Creativity knows no boundaries, and it is extremely true in the design process of flexible packaging. If we want to add more graphics to make the package more eye-catching, just insert it. About rigid packaging, we need to brainstorm on the killer appeal to couple with the item itself.

Take time to plan out budget, design, materials, and marketing strategies to decide on the best packaging for you. Do not forget to test carefully before coming up with your decision of what packaging types that best suit your products.

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Khang Thanh – The packaging manufacturer in Vietnam specializes in producing paper bags, rigid box, carton offset, labels, hangtag, books, calendar, POSM and so on. Contact us to support your brand with the right packaging: info@khangthanh.com

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