NASA may have ended the shuttle program, but space-age technology keeps popping up in the packaging world. Since the late 60s, astronauts have been eating food out of foil and plastic pouches. It makes sense. They're compact, portable, easy to open and leave almost no mess — ideal for snacking while orbiting the earth in a tiny metal capsule. Brands in a number of categories are turning to the pouch to offer the same convenience and portability to consumers stuck here on earth. A recent example, Campbell's Go soup takes advantage of the portable nature of the pouch, offering a convenient meal that can go places a heavy tin can cannot. In addition, the wide pouch offers a larger graphic panel than the traditional can, with more space to showcase the adventurous flavor offerings.
Pouches have even taken the baby food category by storm mainly because of their cleanliness. The folks at Plum Organics realized a baby can feed herself by sucking food out of the soft pouch, leaving moms free to take care of the million other things moms take care of. Feeding a baby, it turns out, is as messy as eating in zero gravity. Plus, the slim pouches take up far less space in a diaper bag and don't leave mom and dad with a giant stack of jars to recycle. What's essential about both of these examples, is that they put the needs of the consumer first. Pouch foods and other innovative packaging can run the risk of becoming a novelty or gimmick, but if innovation solves real problems consumers are facing, we say reach for the stars.