5 Differences between Rigid and Flexible Packaging

When choosing packaging for your products, it is important to take into account a number of factors, such as material, type, design, size and cost. Most manufacturers use both rigid and flexible packaging for their range of products, and while sometimes it’s a fairly easy decision, at others you might need expert advice to make the right choice.

Here are 5 key differences between rigid and flexible packaging that will help you make an informed decision.

Packaging material

As the name suggests, flexible packaging is made of plastic sheet, paper, cloth or other flexible materials that are lightweight and are sealed using heat or pressure. On the other hand, rigid packaging—true to its name—is made of hard plastic, glass, aluminum, tin or cardboard. Rigid packaging is heavier and generally costlier, but it provides a product greater protection against the elements.

Weight of packaging

Because of the type of materials used, rigid packaging is heavier than flexible packaging. As a result, it will likely take up more space in a delivery vehicle and on the shelf. This factor, while it may sound like a drawback, is an advantage in situations where the contents need to be protected from all the squishing during transportation.

Indeed, there are situations when flexible packaging may be bigger in size and take up more space. For instance, stacking one-liter bottles of cooking oil may take less space than the same number of plastic pouches carrying the same contents. Weight, size and space play an important role in the selection of packaging, but so should ease of use.

Level of protection from spillage and contamination

Rigid packaging continues to be popular in certain industries such as automobile maintenance and household chemicals because of the nature of products manufactured in these industries. Robust plastic cans make it easier to carry and use fluids such as lubricant oil, motor oil, home cleaning solutions and specialty chemicals that need safe handling.

Similarly, some food and beverages can only be safely delivered in plastic or glass cans (fruit juice, cooking oil) while others can be packaged in thin plastic sheets (bread, cheese, yogurt).

Flexible packaging is less prone to deformation while rigid packaging provides a greater barrier against damage. Pick the type of packaging that will best preserve the shape and quality of your product.


With consumers becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of their buying choices on the environment, companies are looking for packaging solutions that are environmentally friendly and recyclable. Both rigid and flexible packaging use plastic as a key packaging material, so if your product must be packaged in plastic be sure to work with a responsible packaging company, such as https://cccllc.com/, which believes in sustainable business practices and is deeply invested in a robust recycling program.

Opportunity for customization

Both flexible and rigid packaging can be customized to suit your brand image and product profile. When choosing a packaging service, ensure that they have the expertise and marketing know-how to design tailor-made packaging solutions as per your requirements and budget.

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