In industry and commerce, canvas bags are used for the storage and transportation of small objects in large quantities. The agriculture industry in particular requires access to large quantities of canvas bags in order to store and ship coffee beans, cinnamon sticks and other small agricultural products. Consumers use canvas bags for carrying groceries, books, art supplies and an extensive variety of other relatively small objects.
As sustainability becomes marketable and gains its own brand identity, consumers are increasingly attracted to canvas grocery bags as alternatives to plastic and paper bags. In such cases, the bags can be printed with logos or slogans. Canvas is also used extensively by painters as painting surfaces, and it has limited applications as clothing; it is largely limited to use as outwear because of its coarseness compared to other clothing materials.
Canvas bags, like all other sewn products, come from industrial, commercial or custom sewing operations. Canvas bags that are produced on an industrial scale are usually employed in industrial contexts; the kind of canvas bag used for the storage and transportation of agricultural products has few uses in contexts outside of the agriculture industry.
Because of the specificity of their intended application, canvas coffee bean sacks, for example, are not useful for the hauling or storage of any materials other than coffee beans or other agricultural products of similar size. Canvas bags produced on a commercial scale are somewhat more versatile; they are usually characterized by more careful construction and are softer. Such bags can be employed in light industrial tasks as well as by hikers or soldiers for the carrying of heavy supplies.
Custom sewing operations work with canvas in limited quantities. A custom sewing operation is more likely to offer custom embroidering than custom canvas bag sewing. However, some canvas bag producers may also be involved in screen printing or embroidering their products, which qualifies them as custom sewers by broad definitions.