Flexible vs. Rigid Packaging Supplement Contract Manufacturing

The right packaging creates an attractive brand image while protecting your product during storage and distribution. Both flexible and rigid packaging options offer distinct benefits depending on the product and conditions the package is expected to withstand. To help you decide which option is best for your needs, we compared rigid vs. flexible packaging, including their advantages, disadvantages, and common uses.


What Is Flexible Packaging?

Flexible packaging uses non-rigid materials that can be bent and formed around the product. Flexible container materials can lay flat to save space until they are ready to be filled. Typically sealed by heat or pressure, common flexible package types include bags, pouches, and sachets.
Advantages of Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging offers the following benefits:

  • Branding and customization: Flexible packaging can be used to convey eye-catching designs to make your product stand out with unique branding. Flexible materials come in an assortment of colors and transparencies, with additional options for printable surfaces or custom adhesive labels.
  • Ease of use: Flexible packaging is easier for customers to open and reseal, enhancing the consumer experience.
  • Environmental friendliness: Compared to other packaging methods, flexible packaging requires less energy to manufacture and results in the least amount of landfill waste. They are also effective at preserving products for longer periods of time, resulting in less product waste.
  • Less material: Flexible packaging uses less material than rigid packaging methods. This helps to enhance storage and display space while reducing overall material costs.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Lower energy usage, reduced material requirements, and enhanced storage space allow you to save time and money on packaging throughout fulfillment, shipping, and distribution.
Disadvantages of Flexible Packaging

What Is Rigid Packaging?

Rigid packaging refers to less flexible materials such as rigid plastic packaging, glass bottles and jars, cardboard boxes, and aluminum cans. Usually sealed with adhesives, tape, or staples, these materials can maintain their size and shape regardless of whether they’ve been filled.
Advantages of Rigid Packaging

Rigid packaging offers unique benefits, including:

  • Ready availability: Rigid packaging is widely accessible, easy to source, and often pre-fabricated to standard dimensions.
  • Strength: Rigid packaging is stronger and more stable than flexible packaging, especially for heavy or fragile products.
  • Impact protection: Rigid packaging is more impact-resistant than flexible packaging. Delicate and sensitive products are less affected by the rough handling and droppage that may occur during shipment, transport, distribution, and retail displays.
Disadvantages of Rigid Packaging

Applications of Flexible and Rigid Packaging

Due to their unique benefits, rigid and flexible packaging have distinct roles in various industries. The following industries benefit from both rigid and flexible packaging solutions.
Food and Beverage

Food and beverage products use both flexible and rigid packaging, depending on the type of food, consistency, and storage requirements.

  • Flexible packaging: Pouches, sachets, and bags are used for a variety of food products, including chips, frozen vegetables, dried fruit, shredded cheese, salad mixes, and more.
  • Rigid packaging: Rigid packaging is ideal for beverages such as beer, soda, and juice. Foods with rigid packaging include canned soup, canned beans, spaghetti sauce, cooking oil, cut vegetables, and fruit trays.
Health, Beauty, and Personal Care

Rigid vs. Flexible Packaging: Which Is Best for You?

To choose the right packaging for your application, consider the following.

Branding and customization

Determine which type of packaging can be designed, printed, or otherwise customized to meet your branding and marketing objectives.


Consider the cost of the packaging for the full project, including labeling or finishing costs.

Consumer experience

Choose packaging that makes it easy for the customer to access your product.

Environmental impact

Consider how important environmental impact is for your product line and business model.

Edible and perishable products

If the product is edible, your packaging choices must meet FDA and other industry regulations.

Product type

Ensure that the packaging you select is ideal for the type of product you are producing.

Transportation costs

Your packaging choice—including its weight and dimensions—will affect the cost of transporting your product.

Flexible and Rigid Packaging Services from Elis Packaging Solutions

Elis Packaging Solutions is a leading contract packaging provider of turnkey packaging services for powders, granules, capsules, lotions, and gels. We specialize in developing single-serve packaging for customers in the food and beverage, medical, pharmaceutical, and health and beauty industries.

Our FDA-registered and cGMP-compliant facility utilizes state-of-the-art packaging technology that meets even the strictest industry requirements. To learn more about our comprehensive selection of flexible and rigid packaging services, contact us today.