Packaging Innovation
3 flexible packaging trends
May 3, 2016

3 flexible packaging trends to stay on top of

Flexible packaging is on the rise. Smithers Pira even estimates that the global market for flexible packaging will have grown 18 percent, to be exact, by 2020. Naturally, this fast growth comes with increasing consumer expectations, which in turn bring along new challenges for the flexographic printing industry. Flexo printers have responded well to these challenges so far, in the form of several flexible packaging trends. We’ve selected three of the most remarkable flexible packaging trends we believe any packaging designer or printer should definitely stay on top of.

1.     Digital vs. flexographic printing solutions

As flexible packaging is becoming more popular each day, it takes a wider variety of graphic designs and packaging formats to impress the consumer. Packaging designs are tuned to seasons, events, regions, … and this results in smaller lot sizes. Traditionally speaking, this would make flexographic printing an economically less viable solution than digital printing. Recent innovations such as HD Flexo, however, have made flexo printing much cheaper and perfectly suitable for short print runs.

2.     Flexible packaging: CMYK meets ECG

More and more flexographic printers are adopting the Extended Color Gamut (ECG) approach, which involves a fixed colour palette that consists of CMYK combined with green, orange and blue or violet. Using a fixed set of inks completely eliminates the need for spot colors 90 percent of the time, and delivers much better quality prints than CMYK on its own.

3.     Stepping up to the right flexo plate

Since printing with a fixed color palette cannot accurately match spot colors without top notch plate registration, flexo printers are increasingly turning to photopolymer or rubber engraved sleeves. However, last-minute changes tend to be difficult with this kind of sleeves because they will always have to be changed as a whole. That’s why many flexo printers are opting for combo printing with flexo plates, combining multiple jobs of similar length on one cylinder.   Inspired by Labelling Blog