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Paperboard Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

Paperboard Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

  • November 2021
  • 245 pages
  • ID: 6187403
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The market for paperboard packaging is expected to expand at a CAGR of 3.76% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026). Major factors driving the market studied are the growth in e-commerce sales and the increasing demand for folded carton packaging.

Key Highlights
Paperboard is a thick paper-based material that is commonly used in packaging. It is made from wood pulp as basic material. To prevent deforestation and trash, a substantial percentage of paperboard is recycled. These are mostly utilized in food and beverage packaging, medical packaging, durable and non-durable goods packaging, industrial packaging, and cosmetics packaging.
Currently, consumers prefer recyclability and biodegradability as important parameters of packaging over reusability. This underlines the growing concerns of consumers pertaining to the environmental impact of packaging wastes in the future. More than 60% of all communities in the United States collect and recycle paperboard packaging. Furthermore, companies are also focusing on introducing recyclable paper board products. The Cascades recently launched a cardboard tray made from recyclable fibers. SIG has also launched cartons made from recycled polymers using post-consumer waste.
With advanced technologies like digitally printed paperboard attracting high investments, the product distributors are increasingly adopting the following technology due to the solution offering interactive and colorful designs for the consumers to notice. Furthermore, government regulations being enforced by various countries are also leading to the demand for more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions, like folding cartons.
The packaging industry witnessed some major issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the effects of nationwide lockdown, companies moving to source away from China, and reconsidering materials used in packaging. Although the supply side of paper packaging has witnessed a significant impact, a drastic increase in the end-user demand in some applications has significantly expanded the scope of paper packaging.
Corrugated packaging has emerged as a key driver of this market due to its evolution as a point-of-sale display in retail applications, coupled with continuous development in small flute and high-quality graphics board, which is enabling corrugated boxes to penetrate traditional folding carton applications.
However, the availability of high-performance substitutes is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied. Paperboard packaging is one of the most used eco-friendly packaging solutions. The ability of this format of packaging to be produced in many sizes with a small footprint, when compared to the other bulkier packaging options, makes it feasible for use in almost all end-user industries.

Key Market Trends

Increasing Demand from Food and Beverage

The food and beverage industry is the largest end-user for the paperboard packaging market and accounts for more than half of the global market share. The food and beverage industry majorly utilizes coated unbleached boards for packaging beverages and corrugated container boards for packaging fruits, vegetables, and food products. The acceleration of frozen foods is likely to drive the demand for folding carton packaging.
Meanwhile, using sustainable strengthening processes, paper substitutes can attain the same strength, moisture resistance, and durability as plastic (e.g., water-based coatings). Plastic straws and cutlery are also being phased out of the pre-packaged food industry in favor of paper/wooden alternatives.
Changes in lifestyle and a growing young population lead to a higher demand for branded and packaged substances. According to the Flexible Packaging Association, the beverage sector in the United States accounted for nearly 50% of the packaging market. Currently, over 30% of Americans order food twice a week, and this is expected to grow by 3% in the coming years.
Furthermore, the surge in ecological packaging options has been driven by a rapid wave of popular interest. According to Food Dive, 67% of customers around the world believe it is critical that the items they buy come in recyclable packaging, with 54% indicating it is a factor they consider when purchasing. Also, 83% of younger buyers are prepared to spend more on products that are packed in a sustainable manner.
Moreover, on-the-go consumption in countries like India, China, Japan is further fuelling the demand. In countries such as China and India, the food and beverage demand is always on a higher side, which is subsequently driving the paperboard packaging market. Such positive growth in the food and beverage industry is expected to increase the demand for paperboard packaging during the forecast period.

North America to Witness Significant Growth Rate

North America continues to be one of the leading markets for paperboard packaging products, owing to the presence of a large number of players operating in the country. Rising demand for packaged food in the U.S. and shifting consumer preference towards food & beverages products are expected to create significant opportunities.
The United States dominates the folding carton packaging market in the North American region, where food is expected to continue as the primary end-user of folding cartons. For instance, according to the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the U.S. food industry is expected to proliferate at a steady rate of 2.9% CAGR through 2022.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2020, U.S. couriers and messengers generated almost USD 117.3 billion in operating revenue. The largest courier and delivery service provider in the United States is UPS, with around 40% of the courier market. Such stats indicate the major demand for brown kraft paper courier bags in the United States.
In addition, increasing environmental concerns regarding the use of plastics and various organizations and governments’ focus on the development of sustainable packaging materials are other factors expected to further fuel the growth of the target market over the forecast period.
Furthermore, players in the market are increasingly investing in advanced and customized packaging solutions through increased M&A activities or R&D strategies. Moreover, the market is also witnessing new players entering the landscape. For instance, EdelmannUSA recently became a member of the PPC. This is indicative of the increased focus of the Europe-based company to expand in this market.

Competitive Landscape

The global paperboard packaging market is highly fragmented. The major players operating in the market are focusing on innovating new products and entering into a strategic partnership to strengthen their market presence. Some of the major players operating in the market include NIPPON PAPER INDUSTRIES CO. LTD, Mondi, METSÄ BOARD, WestRock Company, and ITC Limited, among others.

October 2021 - DS Smith PLC to open its first hybrid Customer Innovation Hub. The center, based in Lisbon, is equipped to support collaborative innovation and design sessions for customers in face-to-face, online and hybrid settings. This new hybrid Customer Innovation Hub allows DS Smith to connect in person with customers across the Iberian region and remotely with international representatives.
September 2021 - Heinz Partners with WestRock to replace shrink-wrapped multipacks of Heinz beanz, Heinz soups, and Heinz pasta varieties on supermarket shelves with recyclable paperboard developed by WestRock. The Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve is recyclable and comes from sustainably managed forests. The innovative wrap design uses no glue and 50 percent less material than a fully enclosed wraparound box and 10 percent less than a traditional paperboard sleeve design.

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