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High Barrier Films for the Flexible Packaging Market

salmon in high barrier film

In our last blog post of 2022, we touched on how food and beverage consumption has increased in the U.S. and sparked growth in the packaging films market. One category of flexible thermoforming films in particular has reaped the benefits of this growth – high barrier food films.

Barrier film is a key component of many food packaging solutions and there are many different types available. PennPac is pleased to now offer forming and non-forming barrier films for food and beverage applications as well as for applications in other industries.

What is a High Barrier Film?

Barrier film is a type of flexible film component within two-part packaging. It joins a forming bottom web with a non-forming top web to create a finished thermoform plastic sheet or other type of thermoformed packaging product such as a pouch, bag, lidding, and more.

High barrier films offer the maximum level of barrier protection when compared to other films. At PennPac, we offer high barrier films containing Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol copolymer, commonly called EVOH. The film is a 9-layer structure that includes EVOH for the barrier and nylon, polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene (PE) for strength.

The flexibility that EVOH offers makes it a popular barrier material for many different food applications as well as non-food applications such as medical/pharma or cosmetics packaging. But it’s most commonly used for its superior gas barrier properties – specifically as an oxygen barrier for food packaging.

EVOH can be easily modified during secondary processing operations, which makes it easy to incorporate into a number of unique packaging types.

What Does Barrier Film Do?

The role of barrier film is to prevent certain elements from entering or leaving a product’s packing, such as:

  • UV/light
  • Gas
  • Water and water vapor
  • Oxygen
  • Oil
  • Aroma/odor
  • Flavor

The type of film used will determine what kind of sealed barrier system is achieved.

For example, one type of barrier film may be better suited for moisture barrier packaging. Another may perform better as an oxygen barrier film. And another type may be better at protecting product flavor or aroma.

Because so many different properties can be applied to barrier packaging films, it’s important to work with an experienced, high-quality film supplier like PennPac. Our team can help you determine the right kind of packaging solution for your specific application.

What Are the Benefits of High Barrier Film?

the benefits of high barrier films Barrier film packaging offers a number of advantages over other types of film.

For the food and beverage industry, it helps to extend the shelf life of products by locking in freshness and preserving flavor. This in turn helps reduce food waste – a big sustainability benefit.

Other advantages for food and beverage products include less need for additives and preservatives, which is a big plus for health-conscious individuals.

And with many high barrier thermoforming films being transparent, consumers feel heightened safety and security about the foods they’re purchasing, since the contents of the package are visible.

Finally, the versatility of barrier food packaging delivers more convenience to customers. Features such as resealable zippers, sliders, or microwave-safe material can be incorporated into packaging design for greater ease of use.

What to Consider When Choosing Barrier Materials for Flexible Packaging

Deciding which barrier film to use depends on many factors. Here are 10 questions to consider when choosing barrier materials for flexible packaging:

  1. Does your packaging need to be clear/transparent so consumers can see its contents?
  2. Does the packaging need to be strong/durable?
  3. Do you need a moisture barrier, so the product doesn’t easily stale?
  4. Is the product perishable and does it need an oxygen barrier to help preserve its flavor and quality?
  5. Will the product need UV protection?
  6. Does your product require fragrance or flavor retention (perfume, mouthwash)?
  7. Might your product need both an oxygen and moisture barrier (e.g., fruits and nuts)?
  8. Does your product packaging need to be trimmed/sealed in a certain way?
  9. Will your product be used in a sterilized environment (e.g., packaged medical instruments)?
  10. What type of conditions will the product be transported and sold in (e.g., temperature, humidity, etc.)?

High Barrier Forming/Non-Forming Films from PennPac

Common food applications that use high barrier forming/non-forming films require various, yet precise measurements. PennPac carries an open inventory of quality high-barrier films and we have the ability to quickly custom slit rolls to exactly what the application requires. We also help our customers with their high barrier forming/non-forming needs by offering inventory stocking programs so their films are readily available any time.

Need Plastic Sheet for Thermoforming? Contact PennPac Today.

See why PennPac is one of the top thermoforming film suppliers around. Our experienced team is here to help with fast turnaround times, quality films, and exceptional customer service.

Call 717-664-4040 or email us today to learn more.