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FirstWave offers unparalleled flexibility with aseptic pouches

Providing better solutions to innovative companies through flexible options

One of the biggest challenges for food and beverage brands entering the aseptic market is size: most small- and medium-sized brands can't package their own goods, and many co-packers offer limited packaging options. 


At SIG, we offer co-packers the ability to deliver aseptic packaging solutions with unparalleled flexibility through our pouches and equipment. Many co-packers are limited both by the range of packaging options they can provide and by order minimums, which not only prevent small businesses from entering the market but inhibits innovation: companies can't test out small runs of a product or experiment with different packaging options to find the best solution for customers. 


But our spouted pouches and pouch filling equipment allow co-packers not just to offer more to small businesses but to provide more options to anyone looking to provide high-quality food and beverage products to consumers. 

The challenge: minimum orders and limited packaging option

SIG has been working with FirstWave, the co-packing arm of SinnovaTek, an end-to-end solutions provider in the food space, for about five years. "FirstWave is a company that's really focused on helping brands come into the aseptic market and helping them grow," says Amanda Vargochik, co-founder and chief innovation officer for FirstWave. 


However, there are a lot of challenges, particularly for smaller, newer brands looking to get into aseptic. "A lot of aseptic co-packers don't have the capabilities to offer lower minimum order quantities," says Vargochik. Usually, co-packers require steep minimums to work with a company, which puts a barrier on smaller, newer entrants into the market.


Furthermore, most co-packers only offer a limited range of packaging options: brands have to choose from a select number of packaging options and tailor their product around the package rather than the other way around. FirstWave sought a solution as innovative and agile as its aseptic technology, able to meet the needs of its co-packing partners.

The solution: spouted pouches and endless possibilities

FirstWave saw the potential in SIG's proprietary spouted pouch technology from the get-go. "They saw our capabilities for aseptic packaging, specifically for pouches," says Mark Gaffin, Business Development Director for SIG. "They had looked at numerous other machines that didn't fit the bill before finding us." 


Initially a small co-packing brand, FirstWave flourished into an aseptic co-packaging leader. "Spouted pouch, for us, was the unlock. It was the first format that we started with when we started the FirstWave co-packing operation. The primary reason was scalability," says FirstWave president and CEO Michael Druga, noting that SIG equipment and pouch technology allows food businesses to package very small batches with the SIG Prime 25 Aseptic through high-volume aseptic filling operations with the SIG Prime 100 Aseptic. FirstWave can also toggle through these sizes using the same filler, as opposed to many packaging formats which require unique equipment for every size and format. 


FirstWave sought to provide a solution to food businesses while helping them retain the quality of their products through aseptic technology and flexible packaging. Along with helping brands scale, the flexibility of SIG's equipment allows brands to experiment with different packaging formats and test what's best for consumers, all on the same filling and packaging line. "[We help] new companies who are looking to launch a new product or test market a new product," says Vargochik. "Our whole purpose is: how do we take those companies in, help them get into aseptic, and then scale."

The result: innovative packaging solutions push the industry forward

The ability to scale both small and large is unique in the food packaging business. "There's not a lot of people that do small of anything in our industry," says Gaffin. Most co-packers rely on high volumes, and being able to run small batches is critical to FirstWave's mission to provide high-quality, shelf-stable food products. 


Druga believes we'll see more pouches on retail shelves in the future. "It's the most convenient package—it can be sized from 3-ounce up to an 8-ounce [package]," he says. He also notes that the pandemic drastically changed consumer habits, and with more people ordering groceries online and via delivery apps, food brands rely on aseptic packaging more than ever. 


FirstWave has been so successful with its pouch packaging program—soon, they’ll be adding SIG equipment that’ll enable them to provide bag-in-box packaging, deepening our relationship. “We feel like we’re treated as partners," says Vargochik. “It’s really a mentality of, ‘if we win, they win.’” 


Expanding flexibility in aseptic packaging has helped FirstWave: 

  • Decrease their environmental footprint and energy usage by eliminating the need for cold storage during transport
  • Increase shelf stability of food items, giving consumers more flexibility and adding value to a brand's products
  • Offer partners new avenues to expand and place products through different packaging sizes and formats—one product may thrive in a 3-ounce package while another does better in an 8-ounce package

Our pouch technology and equipment solutions allow you to provide co-packing solutions for better. Send us a message, and let us find the right packaging solution. 

Featured products

SIG AeroCap Pouch
56.7 - 340g / 2 - 12oz
SIG Prime 25 Aseptic filling equipment
SIG Prime 100 Aseptic filling equipment