Bag-In-Box

In packaging, a type of container, used for both dry and liquid products, in which the contents are placed in a flexible bag which is then placed inside a (typically) cardboard carton.

'Dry Products'. Dry products packaged using bag-in-box techniques include crackers, cookies, cereals, and other such foods. The concept was invented in the early years of the twentieth century when the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) introduced the Uneeda Biscuit. This soda cracker marked the first use of the folding carton as a package. Eventually, the carton was lined with wax paper, which prolonged freshness. Thus was born the lined carton, in which the cardboard box itself could be automatically assembled and glued, the top flaps remaining open. A second device inserts an open wax paper bag into the box, which can then be filled with the contents, and the top of the wax paper bag folded and sealed shut, followed by the closure of the box itself. A slightly later development inserted the lining prior to assembling the carton.

In the 1950s, the introduction of vertical form/fill/seal packaging machinery allowed the bag to be formed, filled, and sealed, and inserted complete into the carton, which cut the number of steps and motions involved in the packaging process. One problem that has plagued this process was occasional (or even frequent) bag-jamming, as misshapen or overloaded bags could not be easily dropped into the cartons. One means of solving this problem was the invention of devices which produced a sharp rectangular shape to the bags, which facilitated their dropping into the carton.

'Liquid Products'. Liquids (or semi-liquids) packaged in bag-in-box containers include inexpensive wines and industrial chemicals, among many other substances. The components of liquid BIB packages include a flexible and collapsible inner bag commonly made from a synthetic film, a spout attached to the inner bag to easily pour desired quantities of the liquid, and an outer protective cardboard carton. The first uses of the liquid BIB container were for industrial bulk milk dispensers and for sulfuric acid used as an activator for dry-cell batteries. The inner bag (also called a barrier film) is commonly manufactured from metallized thermoplastic materials (such as polyethylene and/or polyvinylidene chloride), and the most commonly used barrier film today is a three-ply film of two layers of ethylene-vinyl acetate and one layer of metallized polyester. The exact composition of the barrier film, however, is dependent upon the mechanical and chemical requirements of the product to be placed within it.

The liquid BIB manufacturing process is a bit more involved than the dry BIB process. Essentially, the bag is created by sealing two layers of the desired film together and adding the spout, which, as one can imagine, must be perfectly leakproof, and must be able to withstand the filling operation. The liquid is poured into the bag, and the bag is placed into the box. The desired valve or other dispensing spout is applied to the bag, and the box may have a perforated hole allowing easy access to the spout.

The advancements in BIB packaging technology are resulting in more and more liquid or semi-liquid products being distributed in BIB containers. In fast-food restaurants, for example, condiments and soda fountain syrups are pumped on menu items and into soda machines from BIB containers, which reduces the need for recycling of metal containers.

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