Flexipol is one of the UK's leading innovative packaging manufacturers for plastic films and bags with special features addressing issues such as risk of contamination and cost reduction in the logistics chain. These products are manufactured by Flexipol on its bespoke machinery which it has developed over a number of years.
Flexipol has few direct competitors due to its special products and also has patents in place over three of its products which give further protection.
Flexipol’s products focus primarily on the food industry and are well positioned for growth as the food market is projected to grow and the market trend within it is towards value-add products.
Flexipol has a factory and warehouse in Haslingden, Lancashire, where it employs blown-extrusion production, followed by converting, finishing and printing for small run lengths.
Flexipol targets customers in the end market segments of food and animal feed. Sales are made primarily in the UK but approximately 20% of sales are exported primarily to Europe through established distributorships but also further afield to places such as the USA, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Flexipol accounts for approximately 34% of Group sales. Sales were £17.3m for the year ended 31 March 2016.
Flexipol’s products range from films, bags, liners sheets and covers.
- Ripp’n’Flow 1+2 (Patented) - a block bottomed sack which includes an easy opening system.
- Tear Ripp’n’Flow (Patented) - a double skinned Ripp’n’Flow Sack.
- Block Bottom Sacks - a heavy duty sack with a square stand up bottom.
- Ripp’n’Take (Patented) - a corrugated box replacement system.
- Block Bottom tray liners - a shaped tray liner developed to minimise polythene entrapment problems in frozen meat.
- Block Bottom dolavs - a pallet size version of the block bottom tray liner. This is stretched tightly over each corner of the dolav to prevent the liner being pulled down into the product during filling.
- Cooking Bags - produce 2 types. The first is manufactured from polyester and is used to cook chicken. The second is made from nylon co-extrusion and is used to cook rice and vegetables.
- Vac Bags - produced from Flexipol's 3 layer nylon co-extrusion and is widely used throughout the meat sector to increase product shelf life.
- Gas Flush Tray Liners - produced from Flexipol's 3 layer nylon co-extrusion and is used to increase product shelf life.
- Gas Flush Dolav Liner - a pallet size version of the gas flush tray liner.
- High Barrier sacks - produced from a 7 layer high barrier material. Used to pack products with high volatile oil content or high odour.
- Hygiene Pallet Covers - a shaped tight fitting cover that fits over a wooden pallet. Used during the inversion process at some food factories as well as pallet top covers to keep the product dry.
- Wicketed bags - supplied in low to medium volumes to customer using manual or semi-automatic packing methods.
- Eurobin Covers - shaped cover which fits over Eurobins to keep food products clean and fresh.
The films are made from proprietary blends, although polyethylene is the major raw material used.
The focus is on films with a size range from 250mm up to 2,500mm.
The products which Flexipol manufactures have many advantages:
- Easy opening systems
- Elimination of product entrapment
- Elimination of polythene entrapment
- Elimination of foreign body contamination
Flexipol is able to offer a tailored service to mid-market industrial companies providing bespoke films made to the customers’ exact requirements. Flexipol also has a direct sales team which has strong customer relationships.
Flexipol targets the markets of food and animal feed where there is increasing consumption:
- The UK food and grocery sector is forecast to grow in value by 21% by 2018 (4.9% CAGR) (Reference: IGD Shopper Vista Research 2013 Report)
- The animal feed market is estimated to grow by CAGR 2.9% until 2020 (Reference: DEFRA)
In addition, there is substitution growth:
- H&S requirements and contamination risks are shifting demand towards value-added products, like Flexipol’s and away from traditional alternatives
- EU regulation regarding materials allowed to come into contact with food is driving demand to Polyethylene plastic
Food manufacturers want to eliminate cardboard from entering high risk manufacturing areas while plastic food tray manufacturers are under pressure to source substitute packing methods to replace existing cardboard outers due the demands of high risk manufacturing food areas. The criteria being laid down is to:
- eliminate cardboard packaging wherever possible
- reduce packaging costs
- minimise packaging waste
- reduce the number of pallets in their warehouse.
Flexipol’s Ripp’n’Take satisfies all the criteria.
There is still a major drive in the food and animal feed sectors to replace paper sacks with a polythene alternative.
Certain high volume packers within the animal feed sector are moving to automatic form fill and seal alternatives using polythene. Paper cannot be used on this equipment so traditional animal feed sacks produced in paper are being gradually replaced by polythene as the paper sack falls apart when wet. Flexipol’s Block bottom sacks are now widely used within this sector.