Going Flexible with Rollstock: Advantages and Use Cases Across Different Industries

October 10, 2022 | By The Fres-co Team

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Flexible packaging’s innovative design, sustainable impact, and high-quality graphic treatments are all core drivers that have contributed to increased demand in the last several years. According to Allied Market Research, the global flexible packaging market is projected to reach $102.8 billion by 2031, an upward tick from $68.5 billion in 2021. As industries move to more conscientious use of materials and packaging, it is high time for brands, co-manufacturers, and co-packers to switch over to flexible packaging. One of the most innovative flexible packaging advancements available is the use of rollstock to form customized flexible bags, pouches, and stick packs. In this article, we take a deep dive into what rollstock is, how it is used, and the various benefits it offers across a wide range of industries and applications.

What is Rollstock and How Is It Used?

Rollstock refers to a long, continuous sheet of high-barrier laminated film that is formed on a roll around a cylindrical base. It is commonly used with horizontal or vertical form, fill, and seal (FFS) machinery, pouch equipment, or overwrap equipment to form customized bags and pouches that can be filled and sealed for airtight preservation of foods, liquids, chemicals, medical equipment, agricultural products, and more.

The packaging process with rollstock can be complex. Our team of packaging experts have worked hard to develop high-barrier laminated rollstock that can protect everything from coffee to tomatoes. We also have experience designing packaging processes and can help ensure the integrity of your product throughout production and distribution by choosing the right substrates for multi-ply laminations, including foil, nylon, MET PET, barrier coatings, and sealants.

7 Benefits of Using Rollstock As Your Flexible Packaging

Rollstock is a versatile material that can take on many different forms. It can be engineered specifically to the chemical properties of the product it contains, the sensitivity of the product to oxygen, moisture or light, and the physical strength required of the package. 

It also offers the following advantages:

  • Cost-effective: Producing larger-sized volumes of packaging with rollstock can help to reduce costs because the form, fill, and seal (FFS) machine or horizontal equipment creates the bag in line and produces less waste.
  • Prevents oxygen ingress: Like other forms of flexible packaging, rollstock protects high-quality ingredients against moisture ingress and oxidation, and even has the ability to extend the shelf life of the product. Plus, rollstock can be formed into a wide variety of bag sizes and can be customized with resealable zippers, degassing valves, and more to ensure freshness.
  • Produces packaging at a higher speed and efficiency: A higher volume of bags per minute can be produced using rollstock and a form, fill, and seal (FFS) machine compared to using preformed pouches. Additionally, machines have automatic weight control and weight checkers that increase efficiency compared to weighing products manually.
  • Shorter lead-time and storage space savings: Compared to preformed pouches, rollstock has a significantly faster manufacturing turnaround time because it doesn’t need to be converted into a package. Rollstock leaves Fres-co’s facility in a cylindrical roll—helping customers speed up their own processes—and taking up little storage space at the same time.
  • Superior graphic reproduction: Branding is essential for companies trying to stand out on a shelf. Rollstock can be customized with high-quality rotogravure printing for vivid color and clarity, or printed with flexographic and digital printing to catch your customer’s eye.
  • Suitable for sterilization: Rollstock can be easily sterilized with a peroxide bath compared to preformed pouches. This is because the bag has not yet been formed, so the peroxide bath can quickly pass over film, covering the entire surface. Aseptic processing is especially important for applications like medical equipment and the food industry.
  • Flexible configuration: Rollstock offers greater flexibility because it can be configured to run in a wide variety of different package sizes. Form, fill, and seal (FFS) machines are also able to apply different features to rollstock, including degassing valves, tin ties, reclosable zippers, fold-over bag tops, and more.

The Wide-Ranging Versatility of Rollstock Across Industries

Rollstock offers unmatched versatility in the market. Although it is commonly used for specialty coffee, virtually any industry—especially those that use high-value ingredients—can benefit from switching from preformed bags to rollstock. Below are some use cases for rollstock across different markets.

1. Retail Dry Food

As consumers resume on-the-go routines, convenience is key. Single-serve sachets and stick packs with tear notches made from rollstock offer quick and easy accessibility. Powder drink mixes with electrolytes, collagen, whey protein, or green juice powders can be cost-effectively packaged with rollstock with a quicker lead-time. Rollstock can also be used in the retail dry food market to form larger pouch and bag sizes for premium items like meat snacks, dried nuts and seeds, and hops—while also preserving shelf life for longer compared to rigid packaging.

2. Pet Foods and Treats

With the rise of high-quality pet food innovations, there is an increasing demand for packaging solutions that better meet the needs of these products. Rollstock is equipped to protect premium ingredients against moisture ingress and oxidation, especially for “natural” and “clean-label” pet formulations that omit preservatives that typically help stabilize the product. From freeze-dried protein treats, powdered meal enhancers, to frozen and fresh pet food—and even horse feed, rollstock can also accommodate an array of food formats.

3. Chemicals

Packaging failures for the chemical market can be disastrous not only for your business’ reputation, finances, and regulatory commitments, but for the safety of everyone involved. Pouches and other packaging formed using rollstock provide durable protection against outside contaminants like oxygen and moisture, as well as barrier protection for those in contact with the chemicals. Industrial products can include everything from nylon resin to swimming pool chemicals.
Plus, flexible packaging options like rollstock can also help your business make progress in its sustainability initiatives. When evaluated over the entire lifecycle, flexible packaging has been shown to result in less fossil fuel usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use compared to rigid containers—all due its lightweight, compact size and high product-to-package ratio.

4. Medical Equipment

Products that need to be well preserved and sanitized from bacteria, like medical equipment and instruments, are ideal for rollstock. The rollstock films can be passed through a peroxide bath before being formed and filled to attain sterilization. Whether you’re looking for medical films, bags, or pouches to keep medical instruments, labware products, or high-profile medical devices clean and protected, rollstock can be customized to meet your needs.

5. Agricultural Products

Agricultural product packaging has taken on a new level of importance in recent years as higher-quality, more premium products have emerged. Compared to rigid containers, rollstock can provide an eco-conscious solution that protects agricultural chemicals and other products like fertilizer, grass seed, and insecticide, while also making them easier and safer to dispense. Rollstock offers proven protection against oxidation, moisture ingress, and dehydration and is durable enough to withstand being transported without breaking or puncturing, providing financial savings over time.

Explore the Possibilities With Rollstock

Rollstock is a versatile material that can be used across a wide range of industries and applications. Whether you’re in need of a durable and eco-friendly option for coffee bags, stick packs for electrolyte drink mix, or feed ingredient bags for horse feed, our team of flexible packaging experts can help you design a flexible package from rollstock that meets your objectives.

Start the conversation with a Fres-co team member to learn how our wide range of flexible packaging solutions can help you optimize your product packaging and processes.

For more than 40 years, Fres-co System USA, Inc. has manufactured high-performance flexible packaging systems and invented dozens of innovative breakthroughs including degassing valves, modified atmosphere technologies, and reclosure systems.

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