Pouches are gaining momentum within the dairy sector due to their lightweight nature, user-friendly convenience and ease of transportation.

As a versatile form of packaging, they offer the flexibility to be tailored with distinct shapes, sizes and designs. Enhanced barrier capabilities make them particularly suited for dairy products, ensuring optimal freshness retention through resealable features.

Stand-up pouches emerged as the preferred option for various cheese products, encompassing shredded, cubed, stick and individually wrapped snacking varieties. Processors of cultured dairy products, such as yogurt and sour cream, have taken advantage of the convenience and portability of pouch packaging, as well. 

“One of the advantages of flexible packaging is that it can be tailored to the specific requirements of different food products, filling conditions and storage requirements,” said Don Josefchuk, marketing manager – liquid, Amcor Flexibles North America. “Material science engineers have many material options to choose from to build packaging structures that optimize performance and keep products safe. Pouches and bag-in-box are not only highly reliable in traditional distribution but are exceptionally well adapted for e-commence shipping and handling to safely deliver the products customers love.”


First and foremost, dairy product packaging must keep the product fresh, while remaining convenient and attractive for the consumer. Flexible packaging for dairy is no different.

The squeeze pouch is a type of pre-formed flexible pouch that is specifically designed to dispense its contents by being squeezed. This packaging format is popular for products such as yogurt, cream cheese and sour cream. There are even squeeze pouches for soft-serve ice cream that will create the classic star-shaped stream of ice cream dispensed by fast food restaurants. Convenience and portability for on-the-go consumers are key advantages.

“Pouches are similar to other packaging formats in terms of barrier properties and integrity to keep food fresh or safe,” said Julian Stauffer, chief executive officer, Waldner North America (WNA). “There are very reliable pouch sealing technologies that monitor the sealing process, and there are several technologies that can support an operation with pouch seal integrity and pouch package integrity.”

Cultured dairy, particularly yogurt, has taken advantage of pouch packaging for on-the-go convenience.

In 2023, yogurt maker Stonyfield Organic announced it was expanding its plant in Londonderry, NH, to help meet the growing demand for its on-the-go yogurt pouches, which debuted in 2013.

Stonyfield shared that it experienced double-digit growth with its pouches over the previous five years, as distribution of the products extended and they became available in 75% of grocery stores in the United States.

“Stonyfield set the standard for organic yogurt pouches many years ago, and they continue to be our most in demand product,” said then-chief executive officer Bill Cassidy. At the time, Cassidy estimated the expansion would accelerate production of yogurt pouches and add 35% to the total pouch network to increase accessibility for consumers.

In 2015, Daisy, the maker of America’s top-selling sour cream, was at the forefront of sour cream packaging innovation when it developed a squeezable package that dispenses fresh sour cream evenly in a patented packing design that uses a flexible foil material fixed to a cap – a first for the industry. The design was developed with convenience and freshness in mind. Numerous dairy companies began using similar pouch packaging in the years that followed.


Mordor Intelligence notes that advancements in packaging materials and production processes are resulting in longer product shelf lives. For multi-use cheese products, whether it’s sliced, shredded or cubed, consider packaging cheese in reclosable packaging that allows the package to be opened and closed repeatedly while keeping the seal strong enough for multiple uses.

When creating cheese packaging that will be used over and over again, the best multi-use cheese package offers consumers reseal technology to maximize freshness. Reclosability in cheese packaging is more than just a consumer convenience option, it offers an increase in shelf life and a reduction in food waste.

“When considering pouch or bag-in-box packaging, barrier properties of the packaging material can be vitally important to prevent oxygen and moisture ingress, which can lead to spoilage, off flavors and decreased shelf life,” Josefchuk said. “High-barrier films or laminates maintain product freshness and optimal protection. Lightweight flexible packaging solutions also offer ease of handling, transporting and storing convenience.”

Reclosable packaging changes the life of the product after it has been opened. The biggest danger for cheese is the refrigerator itself. The refrigerator helps to prevent bacteria and mold growth, but at the same time can dry out the cheese if not packaged properly. Reclosable packaging protects the cheese from drying out by keeping oxygen out to keep the product fresher for longer. This prolongs the amount of time the food is ideal for consumption, resulting in less that gets thrown away by the consumer. Films today work hard to keep a tight seal and keep oxygen out, all to increase shelf life.


Environmental concerns and recyclability of packaging remain top of mind for consumers and processors alike.

“When you consider the life cycle from cradle to grave of various packaging formats, it’s hard to beat the carbon footprint of flexible packaging,” Josefchuk said. “Flexibles use much less material than most rigid packages on a comparable volume basis and demand considerably less non-renewable energy and water to produce. In addition, when you factor in the consumed transportation energy to move packaging and packed products around, lightweight flexible packaging is often the most efficient, eco-friendly option.”

Amcor recently collaborated with Stonyfield Organic and spouted pouch manufacturer Cheer Pack North America to deliver a more sustainable packaging option.

The companies introduced an all-polyethylene (PE) spouted pouch, which replaced Stonyfield’s former multi-laminate structure for its YoBaby refrigerated yogurt. 

Amcor shared that the new pouch design includes the company’s all-PE film, AmPrima Plus, as well as Cheer Pack’s Vizi cap. Amcor said the package eliminates metallized or foil-based film layers that traditionally have been utilized in pouches. Plus, the Cheer Pack cap reduces the amount of plastic used by more than five tons per 10mm caps, the companies said.

Per Amcor, its R&D team worked with Cheer Pack pouching and spouting experts to create “a package with premium graphic production, high moisture and oxygen barrier to preserve the content, and highly durable hermetic seals along the pack edges and around opening fitments for optimal performance under abusive conditions.”

Regardless of the type of product, considering pouch packaging requires dairy processors to factor in the cost and implementation of equipment to integrate a flexible packaging line.

“Cost is a major consideration when getting into pouches,” Stauffer said. “The cost of pouch packaging machinery, materials and operations can vary a lot depending on whether you use form fill seal or fill seal equipment. A major contributor to lower or higher costs in an operation is the knowledge, skills and expertise of the operations and maintenance labor. Forming or handling pouches in a dairy operation will require pouch experience and there will likely be a longer learning curve than dealing with more rigid packaging.”

The advances in dairy packaging technologies that leverage high-heat sterilization also are extending to retort systems, in which food is filled into a pouch or metal can, sealed and then heated to high temperatures, rendering the product commercially sterile.

Retort packaging is becoming increasingly popular, with a projected 6.4% CAGR from 2021 to 2028 for the North American sector, reports Grand View Research Inc., a San Francisco-based market research and consulting company. The firm notes that the increasing use of pouches in place of rigid packaging solutions is resulting from the pouches’ “superior properties” such as being lightweight and portable while using fewer materials, resulting in a “significant impact on the overall market growth in the region.”