Flexible Packaging: The 3 Keys to Selecting a Bar Wrapper

Answering these questions will help you choose between stand up pouches, bar wrappers or folding cartons for your product packaging.
April 18, 2023

The 3 Keys to Selecting a Bar Wrapper / Bar Label

The packaging format selected for a product is one of the most important decisions when bringing a consumer product to market. For a consumer, the packaging – such as a pouch or bar wrapper – often escapes notice. However, for the maker of that product, the packaging decision can have a dramatic impact on the product’s ultimate success or failure in the marketplace.

Let’s say you make a delicious new type of granola. As the manufacturer, you have a series of questions to answer that will determine which packaging format makes the most sense. For example:

  •        Is the granola “loose” as in the form of a cereal or “solid” like a protein bar?
  •        Is it being consumed as a single-serve or multi-serve item?
  •        Is portability a consideration?
  •        Will it be sold in a traditional retail setting that requires prominent shelf appeal? Or, will it be sent directly to the consumer’s home as part of an online pick-and-pack shipment?

All of these questions – and many more just like them – will factor into your packaging decision. Depending on the answers, you may end up selecting very different forms of packaging.  

Stand-up pouch

Lightweight, portable and resealable, a flexible pouch-style package would be a good choice for granola being marketed as a handy snack food.

Bar wrappers / Bar labels

If the granola is being sold in bar form, a bar wrapper (itself a variant of flexible packaging) likely makes the most sense.

Folding carton with inner bag

If the granola is being marketed as a breakfast cereal, a folding paperboard carton with a poly bag liner might be the best option.

For this example, we will assume you are selling a granola bar and have wisely decided that a flexible bar wrapper is the way to go. However, you now face a new series of questions specific to bar wrappers.

This blog will look at the three things to think about when searching the packaging industry for a vendor partner to make your granola bar wrapper. These factors are especially critical if you are a small producer and strive to one day graduate from farmer’s market to supermarket.

Bar Wrappers: 3 Important Questions to Ask

1: How will the bar be sold?

The first question to ask is how your bar will be sold:

  •        Are you planning to sell individual bars in a retail environment?
  •        Will the bars be sold in large quantities, such as through an online subscription?

If selling individually at retail, the branding and aesthetics of the wrapper or label itself take on tremendous importance. The marketplace is filled with energy bars and protein bars of every formulation. To stand out from the crowd and capture attention at the point of sale, you need a bar wrapper design that shines a spotlight on your brand in a way that invites trial. Thus, the printing characteristics of the wrapper substrate will be a key consideration.

If selling your bar in quantity such as through an online subscription, your focus should expand to include the container the bars will be shipped within. Most commonly, this is a folding paperboard carton. Whatever bar wrapper you choose should be sized and designed to pack tightly and efficiently in the carton you will ultimately use to bring your bars to market.

2: What are your performance requirements?

Whether sold at retail or via subscription box, your bar may sit for an extended period of time before being enjoyed by the consumer. That’s why choosing a bar wrapper material that offers the right performance characteristics is vitally important.

Bar wrappers are typically constructed of a composite, multi-layer film. We could devote an entire blog just to your film options but the key is to select the right combination of materials to deliver the performance attributes you need such as:

  •        Moisture control
  •        Oxygen barrier
  •        Opacity (i.e., light barrier)
  •        Ease of use for the consumer
  •        Print quality for your brand
  •        Mechanical strength, and more

3: How will it be filled?

Most people don’t consider food production to be a “manufacturing” process but that’s exactly what it is. Forming a bar from raw ingredients and packaging it in a wrapper (and then potentially a folding paperboard carton) is a complex manufacturing process that must be carefully designed up front. There are two primary options to consider for your bar wrapper.

  •        You could fill the bar wrapper manually by hand. In this scenario, you will require a pre-formed wrapper. The bar wrapper is fully formed but has one open end that is heat-sealed after the bar is inserted.
  •        You could fill the bar wrapper via automation, such as through a co-packer. In this scenario, your co-packer will likely be using form-fill-and-seal technology. The wrapper starts as a roll of film material. The packing machinery places the bar onto the film and then seals the film around the bar to create a wrapper.

Here again, there are many factors to consider. If working with a co-packer, sit down and have an in-depth conversation about the equipment they use. This will enable the optimum combination of wrapper performance characteristics (see above) and manufacturing efficiency. Then, provide a sample of the bar label film to the co-packer so they can test the machinability.

The Pouch House: We Make Bar Wrappers, Too

The Pouch House offers a wide range of flexible packaging products and solutions – including bar wrappers. When you work with The Pouch House, you’re getting a business partner who is there with you from start to finish.

  •        We begin by working with our customers to fine-tune their barrier requirements to ensure they are not “overengineering” the wrapper – and overspending on materials.
  •        We then interact directly with our customers’ co-packers to ensure that all of the technical specifications are optimized up front.
  •        Our bar wrapper capabilities encompass both the pre-formed and form-fill-seal constructions noted above.
  •        For pre-formed wrappers, we work with metalized film.
  •        For roll-stock wrappers, we offer both clear and metalized film.
  •        We also provide folding paperboard carton containers – to deliver a true single-source solution for bar wrapper packaging.

However, what sets The Pouch House apart is how we do business. Customers come to us for our competitive pricing but stay for the personalized service and hands-on consultation that we provide. The Pouch House combines the “feel” of a small business with the resources and technological savvy of a big corporation.

Looking for a partner who can help get your product to market quickly and cost-effectively? Contact The Pouch House to learn more about our high-quality bar wrapper packaging.

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