Rigid Packaging vs Flexible Packaging Explained by Examples

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Retail businesses use various types of packaging for their esteemed products to build their positive brand reputation, providing competitive prices and gaining customer loyalty. However, most of the time, they don’t understand which packaging medium to use, either rigid or flexible, to gain success.

According to Strait’s research report, the global flexible packaging market was valued at $178.12 billion in 2022, which is expected to reach $256.83 billion by the year 2031. Retail brands can play their part in adapting flexible packaging solutions, which can encourage the use of recycled materials for going green.

Rigid packaging is the classic form of product packaging that ensures products retain their shape and provide sturdy protection from external impacts. On the other hand, despite not giving sturdiness, flexible packaging offers flexibility, cost savings, and a high level of branding customization opportunities.

In this article, we will look at the differences between rigid and flexible packaging and the pros and cons of using rigid or flexible packaging.

Rigid Packaging

This type of packaging comprises sturdy box-style packaging solutions usually made from recycled chipboard and grey cardboard materials. Examples can be custom gift boxes, custom two piece boxes, custom watch boxes, magnetic closure rigid boxes, and custom presentation boxes.

This packaging type offers better product protection during transport and provides a long shelf life. However, they require more shelf space and are often heavier than flexible packaging options. Examples of brands that utilize rigid packaging are Rolex, Apple, Concrete Jungle, Monokel, and Le Petit Trou.

Make your business product packaging stand out by checking out our article, “Enhance your packaging with our box design ideas.” 

Rigid Packaging


There are considerable benefits to using rigid box packaging due to its great combination of storage benefits. Some of the significant benefits of using this type of packaging include

  • Readily available: There is no shortage of availability as you have a large number of suppliers providing rigid packaging solutions. You can easily go online visit our website and explore our custom rigid boxes section. You can easily find U.S. packaging manufacturers on Google who provide packaging solutions according to business needs. We also provide personalized packaging of your preferred color and size choice.
  • Better Branding Opportunities: Using rigid material packaging provides better branding opportunities for companies as they can create and utilize unique shapes, such as round rigid boxes, to create a positive effect on the minds of customers.  
  • Resistance: Rigid-based packaging, such as shoulder boxes, provides internal items superior protection from external damage, oxygen, and moisture. Moreover, they are excellent for shipping sensitive items such as electronics, mobile phones, glassware, and luxury watches. You can also fill up the extra space using Styrofoam or foam peanuts.
  • Recyclable:  Robust packaging provides opportunities for brands to promote eco-friendly packaging solutions by using 100% recycled materials from green raw material suppliers.
  • Reusable: These stiff packaging containers also provide the added advantage of reusability, providing extra value for consumers. Moreover, they can utilize the tough packaging to store their valuables and useful materials either in the kitchen, living room, or garage.  
  • Provides strong visual appeal: You can enhance your brand’s product appeal using solid packaging options by utilizing out-of-the-box, eye-catching graphics for products on retail shelves.
  • Reinforces Premium Brand Value: By using durable packaging, you can reinforce your premium brand value and promise to your customers. Moreover, they will appreciate the care and attention taken by the brand towards ensuring products reach them safe and sound. customers   
  • Positive Unboxing: Many consumers today want to experience something unique and amazing, such as bookend boxes for their products. Furthermore, they like to share their unique experiences online through social media channels, which reinforces product resales. 
  • Strong Customer Loyalty: Making customers happy through innovative and rugged packaging reinforces their confidence in the brand by providing a positive product experience, which influences customers to remain loyal to the brand.
  • Easy to pack: You can easily pack this type of packaging with a minimal number of people.


This packaging certainly has its advantages but also has its share of negative points. You might need to consider some disadvantages, such as

Fragile: Stiff packaging can sometimes be too stiff for products, which can break sensitive products such as glass jars. Moreover, aluminum products placed inside sturdy packaging can either cripple or burst during shipping.

Requires extra storage space: This packaging requires particular shelf space according to specified product dimensions, which can become a headache for retail businesses with limited space to place products.

Wasted packaging space: Tough packaging does not fully utilize the complete interior space for products. Furthermore, due to the additional wastage of space, you have to add more packaging filler to reduce movement, which is unsuitable for brands adopting environment-friendly initiatives.

Limited freshness: Hard packaging cannot provide products such as food items, snacks, and cereals with long-term freshness or reusability as there is no freshness seal. Moreover, it does not have any type of air vacuum, which reduces the long-term preservation of products.

Extra Shipping Expenses: You might need to spend more for shipping your products due to the nature of tough packaging occupying more space and volume than flexible packaging.

If you like to know more about rigid-based packaging, you can check out our blog article “What is Rigid Packaging; Pros and Cons and Uses?

Flexible Packaging

In the Harris poll study conducted by FPA (Flexible Packaging Transition Advantages) in 2016, 71% of Americans preferred flexible packaging against rigid packaging.

Flexible packaging materials usually consist of paper, film, and aluminum foils, which are sealed using pressure and certain chemicals. Flexible packaging can be used for products such as dried fruits, tea, sweets, chips, popcorn, seasoning, cereals, chocolates, and cannabis.

This packaging provides complete coverage printing and customization for branding. Moreover, packaging is highly customizable according to businesses and end-user needs. Examples of flexible Packaging include

Despite versatile packaging offering great benefits of low manufacturing costs and great transport flexibility, they offer very little protection and can easily get compromised under extreme pressure or exposure to sharp objects. Some examples of popular brands that utilize flexible Packaging are Chobani’s yogurt pouches, August Tea pouches, Starbucks coffee bags, and Nuts for snacks.


There are a lot of benefits to using flexible packaging for businesses who desire certain categories of packaging advantages. Some of these benefits include

  • Eco-friendly: You can save precious cash on the cost of packaging as very little material is used or wasted for products. Moreover, you can also utilize or reuse recycled components such as Kraft paper for the promotion of eco-friendly packaging initiatives. 
  • Better use of packaging space: You can better utilize this adjustable packaging to better fit your products according to their dimensions, leading to better overall retail store shelf space utilization.
  • Long-term preservation: Products remain fresher for a long time due to long-term sealing ability features provided in the packaging, such as kraft mylar bags. Moreover, air-tight sealing is essential for organic & fresh food items to prevent contamination and maintain freshness for prolonged periods.
  • Less costly: You can offer more competitive prices for your brand’s products due to fewer costs associated with manufacturing and shipping. Moreover, stretchable packaging is less likely to suffer from breakage during long-term shipping periods.
  • Branding opportunity: Companies want their products to stand out on the retail shelf, and what better way than to use flexible packaging? This elastic packaging can utilize eco-friendly Kraft paper to appeal to customers or give a modern touch to the packaging.


 As no packaging is perfect for every occasion, it’s important to know that bendable packaging also has certain limitations. Some of the limitations of this packaging that you need to consider are

  • Less sturdy protection: Some products like electronics, mobile phones, or gadgets might require extra protection during shipping due to their delicate nature.
  • Lack of air pressure: Your brand’s products, such as soda or snacks, might require particular air vacuum or pressure to maintain original flavor or secure product integrity.
  • Limited packaging sizes: You can ship small products in flexible packaging, but you might have to think about other packaging options for fitting and shipping extra-large product types.
  • Difficult to assemble: You might need more people or staff to assemble this moldable packaging.

Striking Differences Between Flexible and Rigid Packaging

We have now understood some advantages and disadvantages of rigid and flexible packaging; let’s go through some of the main differences between the two packaging options.

Manufacturing costs: Using rugged packaging might make your brand’s products harder to compete with, whereas flexible packaging might provide more prominent appeal and economic advantages.

Choice of materials: In the case of robust packaging, you need to utilize various sturdy materials like plastics, chipboard, and polycarbonate. Whereas in the case of flexible packaging, it typically uses soft plastics or paper with added aluminum foil.

Long-term preservation needs: If you need to preserve your product for a long shelf life, then unyielding packaging does not provide long-term conservation. On the other hand, soft packaging uses seal packs to maintain product integrity and freshness for a long time.

Which Packaging is Ideal for your Business?

So now you might be asking which type of packaging will best suit your needs. Well, let’s look at various factors and priorities that you might need to consider

  • External protection: If your product needs strong protection due to its fragile nature or certain pressure containment needs, then go with the rigid packaging option.
  • Long-time freshness: If your product needs to provide a long shelf life, choose flexible packaging.
  • Environment friendly: Choose a strong packaging option if you want to use recycled or less materials.
  • Cost saving: Save valuable resources by choosing flexible packaging solutions to reduce shipping weight and costs.
  • Brand Customization: Go with flexible packaging if you want your products to stand out and utilize customized branding opportunities.

If you want to understand more about choosing the right kind of packaging for retail that will help your business succeed, go through our article “How to package your product for retail.”

Wrapping Up

When choosing among the best packaging solutions for your products, it all comes down to the unique needs of your target audience. However, due to their various benefits, people are starting to appreciate and admire flexing packaging options more than traditional rigid packaging.

Moreover, flexible packaging also helps businesses keep their inventory costs low due to reduced space for storage and lower shipping costs. On the other hand, rigid packaging solutions enable quick storage and transport advantages for products. So, choosing the proper packaging solutions depends on what kind of products you offer and how much storage or shipping protection they need. Furthermore, you might also want to avail packaging as an excellent branding medium through flexible packaging and make your products more unique.


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