Assemblies Unlimited, Inc.

Stick Packaging and Stick Packs

Product packaging reflects consumer behavior.  We are on the move more than ever these days, so portable packages have become important fixtures in our daily lives.  Stick packaging has been around for a number of years, but our fleeting lifestyles have brought it into prominence recently.

The package gets its name from its long slender shape, which resembles a stick of gum or a computer stick drive.  Its diminutive size speaks to its distinguishing characteristic – portability.  A stick pack is sealed at both ends and runs on a custom vertical FFS filling machine so it does have a seam that runs down the length of the package.

The film  structure used for stick packages is the same available for other common flexible pouch applications. These include PET, MET PET or PPFP (paper/foil/poly/foil).  Die lines for the film used for stick packs are unique and it is best to work thru your contract packaging partner as these specifications are machine-dependent. Film for stick packs can be printed or unprinted but k ow it is always the customer who is responsible to supply the artwork once proper die lines are defined.

Most stick packs are housed in retail counter displays that hold 20-30 units.  These chipboard displays are also printed with customer supplied artwork.

Convenience and portability rank high as benefits of stick packaging, but there are other features that appeal to consumers – and to the companies that use this form of packaging.  Stick packaging is considered to be an environmentally friendly container, because it has such a small footprint and consequently uses less plastic and paper than other types of packages with less scrap.

Stick packs are particularly easy to use and store as well as being conveniently shaped for delivering granulated products that might be going into a water bottle or narrow glass.   The most commonly used sizes of stick packaging lend themselves to single-serving applications and “portion” paks. Each ‘stick’ can typically hold from 1 gram to 10 grams, all dependent on bulk density of the blended ingredients.

Some stick packing applications:

  • Drink Powders – Flavorings and nutritious water additives find their perfect homes in stick packs, which are easily emptied into bottles of spring water. Instant coffee is perfectly packed in single serving ‘sticks’.
  • Baby Formula – Precise quantities of powdered formula are easily dispensed from stick packages, allowing moms on the move to mix meals without measuring.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Medicine provides perfect applications for stick packaging.  Ease of use and accuracy in filling provide advantages over other drug containers.  Powder-filled single dose packets, as well as individual-sized liquid pharmaceutical packs make it easy for consumers to get the proper dosage.
  • Sugar and Spices – Spice blends and single-use spice servings are stick packaged just like sugar and sugar substitutes.  Boxed foods like pasta and other ‘mixes’ often contain pre-measured spice ‘sticks’. Consumers embrace stick packages for portability and convenience, which allows them to carry along their favorite sweeteners.
  • Samples – Savvy marketers know that placing products in the hands of consumers is the crucial first step in customer relations.  Stick packaging provides a sample-sized vehicle for food, health and beauty, and personal care items.

Contract packaging companies provide the specifics on pricing turnkey stick projects. Size, width, run volume, blending requirements, pack out (in counter displays ?) detail of artwork and powder flowability are keys to pricing metrics.


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