These were among the concepts discussed at a two-day clinic sponsored last month by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Dearborn, MI). At the clinic, speakers showed example after example of pouches on the market for food, beverage, personal care, and household cleaning products. They sang the praises of reclosable zippers, dispensing fitments, internal straws, lightweighting, and the use of films made from metallocene resins. More cautious was speaker Lisa Greiner, supervising package engineer for Nabisco Biscuit Co., East Hanover, NJ. She provided a "user's perspective." "The economics have to make sense for us," she reminded her audience. "We conduct detailed analyses to look at equipment and material expenses, labor costs, payback times, and the risks we take by introducing a new package. All of these factors have to be weighed as criteria for launching a product and package." Another hurdle Nabisco faces with stand-up pouches concerns case packing. "Cartons fit tightly within shipping cases, but pouches don't fill the space within the case as efficiently," she observed. "We've had to pack pouches manually, inverting the top layer so more can fit in a case." Greiner said she'd like to see improvements in such time-consuming and labor-intensive processes so that stand-up pouches could become more attractive to the packagers that have to produce them.
Pouches stand up around the globe
Stand-up pouch development is on the march (see Kellogg item, top of page). Among the possibilities are pouches with ribs for gripping, pouches with new styles of drinking/dispensing spouts, and, on the airlines, pouches prized for making substantial source and weight reduction possible.