Two years ago I wrote about a new development as a result of a collaboration of some Brazilian packaging companies. The PaperPouch was a joint effort of Ibema, Tradbor, Dow Brasil and ESPM. Although paper isn’t a revolutionary material for pouches and bags, it is in terms of a stand-up pouch as no paper had been stiff enough to let a pouch stand upright independent of the filling.
The stiffness of the paper causes PaperPouch to stand “on its feet” besides the fact of giving it unique appearance and touch for the world of pouches in the national market. Polyethylene, by its part, is responsible for physical integrity and content protection. The possibilities of adding new materials are practically infinite, making it possible to offer the necessary protection for the diverse uses.
The ‘plasticity’ of polyethylene allied to other materials addable through co-extrusion or lamination enable PaperPouch to store dry grains, cereals, grain coffee, animal food, powdered cleaning products and the like.
Since the development went public, I haven’t heard or seen any application for this interesting packaging format. Until recently when two, completely different, US companies brought their products to the market in a PaperPouch-like stand-up pouch. Whether they are legitimate applications of the original PaperPouch or (illegitimate) copiesI don’t know as the companies in question decline to name the suppliers of the paper stand-up pouch. Whatever the case it is an interesting and promising development in stand-up pouches.
Brad’s Raw Chips and Gummy Owls of Green Forest Nutrition. When you look at the products, the stand-up pouch in paper is a perfect fit for these products.
Brad’s Raw Chips, Hot Kale, claim to be the ‘world’s healthiest chips’. The company states that the chips (or crisps) are dehydrated and neither baked nor fried, and are said to retain healthy, active enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion. These vegan raw chips are also gluten-free.
Green Forest Nutrition introduced Gummy Owls, described as ‘the world’s first family friendly weight loss gummies’. They’re said to be made with a yam super fibre (konjac mannan), clinically proven to safely reduce body weight and fat in adults and children.
But what is interesting us, is the pouch. Although the companies decline to give material specifications, we know that these stand-up pouches are made from a laminated kraft paper. The laminate probably is a polyethylene.
Regarding the plastic inner-liner, tests in Brazil resulted in polyethylene as the best possible protection to the product, due to its sealing performance, and its mechanical integrity. The versatility of polyethylene combined with other materials embeddable by co-extrusion or lamination enables a stand-up paper pouch to be used for dry grains, cereals, coffee beans, pet feed, cleaning powder and many others. The possibilities of incorporating other materials are virtually endless, further opening a market for the most diverse applications.
There is one more. In Australia I came across a paper stand-up pouch for fish.
Australian company Australis claims that preparing its Barramundi healthy seafood has never been faster or easier. The fish steam cook in the microwave in less than 10 minutes (40-45 minutes in a conventional oven), while its patented unbleached paper pouch retains the steam to ensure uniform cooking throughout.
So, that was the paper pouch, or was it? When I was searching the internet, I also discovered that there are, in limited editions, stand-up pouches made from rice paper. Well, before I show the examples, let’s talk about rice paper.
Rice paper usually refers to paper made from parts of the rice plant, like rice straw or rice flour. The term is also used for paper made from or containing other plants, such as hemp, bamboo or mulberry.
In Europe, around the 1900s, a paper-like substance was originally known as rice paper, due to the mistaken notion that it was made from rice. In fact, it consisted of the pith of a small tree, Tetrapanax papyrifer, the rice paper plant.
The plant grows in the swampy forests of Taiwan. In order to produce the paper, the boughs are boiled and freed from bark. The cylindrical core of pith is rolled on a hard flat surface against a knife, by which it is cut into thin sheets of a fine ivory-like texture.
It is used for origami, calligraphy, paper screens and clothing. It is stronger than commercially made wood-pulp paper. Less commonly the paper is made from rice straw.
Note: Don’t confuse it with another kind of rice paper, which is edible paper made from starch and especially used for Vietnamese cuisine. Edible rice paper is used for making fresh summer rolls or fried spring rolls, where the rice paper is called bánh tráng or bánh đa nem. Ingredients of the food rice paper include white rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water.
Time to have a look at some rice paper stand-up pouches.
Ma Snax Superior Dog Treats, are said to be sustainably handmade organic products for dogs. The new packaging is a rice paper pouch with a little window. They have an elegant and supple hand-feel to them and the colourful labels stand out. The stand-up pouch is claimed to be an eco-friendly packaging option. It is recyclable, but not compostable, as they are lined with polyethylene for stability and to make them food grade.
And even in the non-food sector you find a rice-paper stand-up pouch. The company offers a Paint Kit with Brushes, including 6 colour packets, 6 compostable jars with lids, and 2 bamboo brushes (cruelty-free), in a rice paper pouch. I can’t confirm the claim of the compostability of the jars and the stand-up pouch made from rice-paper, as I don’t have specific information of this company.
If the claims are correct, both companies did a good job.