A flexible approach to food processing

For shelf appeal, product differentiation, supply chain efficiencies and consumer convenience, there’s no food packaging format quite like the flexible pouch.

Nampak Flexible, Africa’s leading producer of flexible packaging and supplier to South Africa’s largest food processors, explains:


Supplied in reel or pre-made format, Nampak Flexible’s self-standing pouches and quad-seal bags (QSBs) are used for an endless variety of household favourite products including olives, fish, nuts, sauces, baking mixes, and pet food. This is largely due to advantages over competing substrates such as metal, paper and glass. A pouch’s shape adapts to available space; it is lighter in weight; when empty it requires less transport and warehouse storage space; it is not subject to metal corrosion or glass-type breakage; and it is easier to open.

Inventory turnover

Not so long ago, most food brands had the luxury of long runs of relatively small product numbers with one or two variations. Today’s fast-paced society demands more choice, resulting in new food products – with dozens of variations in a single product line – being launched faster than ever, and it’s a trend well suited to the pouch format. This is because with pouches, it’s easier to produce short runs and handle the expanding number of SKUs (stock keeping units) that brand owners bring to market. In this regard, flexible materials conform better to space on trucks and shelves, are lighter to transport, and take up less space in warehouses, stores and of course the pantry.


With new products being developed all the time, food producers want something that is not only unique, but also adds convenience to product usage. With Nampak Flexible’s pouches, there are a plethora of options, some of which include self-standing pouches, punched handles for carrying heavier products, tear notches for easy opening, weld spouts for pouring liquids and powders, resealable zippers, and even punched holes for retailing – all features which simply cannot be added to many other food packaging types.

Geared for future development

Nampak Flexible believes that the food market for pouches can only grow, and the company is making further capital investment to support and develop that growth. This investment includes two new pouch machines and a spout inserter, which are due to arrive in the new calendar year. The new equipment will enable Nampak Flexible to deliver a host of options – including a few that are currently not available on the South African market – and will greatly increase Nampak Flexible’s capacity in this dynamic sector.

Supply chain and business efficiencies

But it’s not only products such as pouches that are adding value for Nampak Flexible’s food-producing customers. Nampak Flexible recently received a Gold Award at the 2011 South African Logistics Achiever Awards. Along with leading competitors, the company was evaluated on a number of criteria, including business results, sustainability, customer satisfaction, strategy, leadership and innovation.

The award is reflective of a successful year for Nampak Flexible in terms of supply chain and business  management processes. In March, it was awarded Oliver Wight accreditation for Capable Integrated Business Planning to the latest 6th edition – the first company in Africa and only one of 12 worldwide to do so. June saw the Flexible team presenting at the annual SAPICS (Assoc for Operations Management of Southern Africa) conference due to its remarkable business turnaround and various initiatives, particularly in the supply chain.

And in July, the Gartner Group – one of the world’s leading consulting groups – started documenting learnings from Nampak Flexible as a case study to be used worldwide.

Nampak Flexible: Tel +27 31 719 6333; www.nampak.com