After years of predictions, forecasts, expectations, and promises that that the stand-up pouch would climb to a more dominant position in packaging, the future seems to have arrived.

A bevy of prominent industry leaders speaking at the 2009 Global Pouch Forum this summer cast aside their crystal balls and said pouches finally are fulfilling their vast potential. A combination of new product introductions in multiple segments, large retailers embracing the stand-up pouch, global technologies and sustainability goals have led the pouch to a growth position unparalleled by most other formats.

“I’m of the opinion we’re going to see dramatic change in the coming year,” said Dennis Calamusa, president of AlliedFlex Technologies and a keynoter at the event, held June 9-11 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “Companies are realizing that putting product in a traditional package is not a pathway to success.”

Calamusa, a noted pouch industry leader, asserted in his talk that a repackaging of America would lead to both new packages and new processing methods for flexible plastics. Another industry veteran, Neil Kozarsky of contract packaging firm T.H.E.M., added in his presentation that technology transfer from Japan in pouches (long the flagship country for new applications) has finally taken root in North America.

“We’ve changed the world by sticking with it,” Kozarsky said, applauding efforts by suppliers to get brand owners to see the benefits of those overseas innovations.

Technology transfer

Refillable pouches from Japan and electron beams for sterilization are among a host of technologies that could fulfill the quest in North America for innovation in pouches.

In several presentations at the forum, speakers offered a vision of pouches and flexible developments that could arrive in the near future. Among those offering novel technologies was Akira Gotoh, president of Daiwa Gravure, who discussed the pouch refill packaging revolution in Japan and its current emergence in North America.

Gotoh said in Japan, close to 1.3 billion refill pouches were produced in 2007, compared to the low volume of refills in the United States.

Josh Epstein, marketing director of Advanced Electron Beams (AEB), offered new solutions in the area of pouch sterilization and shelf-stable packaging. AEB has commercialized in-line electron beam sterilization techniques that use virtually no heat and as little electricity as that found in a few hair dryers, Epstein said.

Epstein chronicled use of the electron-beam technology with Farmright Group, a British dairy producer that has released Dairystix, semi-skimmed milk products in a stick pack. The shelf-stable packages, a replacement for creamer cups, have gained a 20 percent market share in the British single-serve dairy market, using novel stick pack and sterilization technology. NP

This story is a reproduction of coverage of the Global Pouch Forum as reported in Packaging Strategies by Joe Pryweller, managing editor. Packaging Strategies is a sister publication of The National Provisioner in BNP Media’s portfolio. For more on the Global Pouch Forum, hosted by Packaging Strategies,go to on the Web.