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Article by Nampak 3 March 2014

Flexible packaging guarantees a more competitive edge for food and beverage manufactures in Africa

Flexible is the future of packaging. The trend toward flexible packaging includes the move towards single-portion packs and refill pouches, which are both affordable and convenient. Easy storage, re-sealing and easy opening are added key convenience drivers for flexible packaging. Speed to market gives Nampak Flexible, Africa’s leading flexible packaging company, the competitive edge in this field.

With global markets demanding specialty films and an increased shelf life for products, there has been a trend towards packaging companies converting from three-layer extruders to produce stronger and more functional film. Nampak Flexible invested in a Windmöller & Hölscher co-ex film extruder in 2013. It is the first seven-layer co-ex in sub-Saharan Africa and the most advanced machine of its kind in Africa. 

This co-ex manufactures to world-class standards on high barrier films, that are more environmentally friendly. The gauge of the film can be optimized to provide more even, high quality packaging. The combination and use of various substrates prevents any ingress of moisture and oxygen, which can increase the shelf life of the product from 2-3 days to up to 6 weeks, depending on several variables. This is hugely beneficial in African countries where refrigeration is an issue and where single-portion packs and refill pouches are more attractive to the consumer. 

Different types of materials can be used in multilayer packaging depending on the applications of that film. The co-ex uses barrier films for products such as fresh and processed meat, cheese and pastes. The films used in these types of products are normally structured to give the products a barrier against light, moisture and oxygen.

The metallised film is used for products such as potato chips and chocolates. This film provides protection against moisture and oxygen, which keeps the product fresher for a longer period.

Multilayer films are structured to protect products like coffee against oxygen as well as moisture. This multilayer film has a shelf life of more than 6 months. The co-ex is the most proffered method of producing multilayer packaging due to a reduction of process operations required to achieve desired properties.

Clinton Farndell, MD of Nampak Flexible, says, “The investment by Nampak Flexible in new seven layer technology, opens up huge possibilities within the flexible packaging industry in South Africa and ensure opportunities for growth across Africa.” Back to top ^