The flexible packaging market (henceforth referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 233.32 billion in 2020. It is projected to be worth USD 300.18 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 4.37% during the period 2021-2026 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period). With the recent outbreak of COVID 19, flexible packaging manufacturers have been flooded with a pool of issues that are expected to be only for the short term. Some of the effects of lockdown include supply chain disruptions, lack of availability of raw materials used in the manufacturing process, labor shortages, fluctuating prices that could cause the production of the final product to inflate and go beyond budget, and shipping problems.
The demand for flexible packaging is growing faster than in many other forms. It includes trends like e-commerce, digital printing, and sustainability, which can drive market development and growth. Customers are increasingly eager to pay extra for specific product attributes boosted by flexible packaging. For instance, according to the Flexible Packaging Association, more than 60% of consumers in North America are keen to pay more for tangible and functional packaging benefits, such as product protection, shipping friendly, and supply chain efficacy, among others.
In the food industry, beyond convenience, the other characteristics, such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste, influence the flexible packaging choice for meat, poultry, and seafood. Sustainability is one of the factors that the companies are finding more interest in recyclable and recycled -content flexible packaging solutions. For this, the solutions, such as formable paper, are gaining traction, offering excellent barrier properties, suitable for lunchmeat and portion packs, and reduced plastic use by up to 80%.
Many companies worldwide are following a trend of building PE-based packages with the help of mono materials. A past collaboration between Borealis and Borouge developed a series of new and fully recyclable mono-material pouch solutions for PE- and PP-based materials.
Furthermore, in July 2021, AR Packaging announced that they are launching Ecoflex, a recyclable mono-polyethylene film for thermoforming applications that the company says provides an alternative to PA-based materials while fully meeting OPRL guidelines.
As most recycling facilities are outdated, they are incompetent of handling changes in waste streams. For example, even though the quantity of paper waste has degenerated and plastic waste has increased, the current device is ill-equipped to handle such changes in the trends of packaging waste.
Key Market Trends
Dairy Products are expected to Hold a Significant Market Share in the Food Segment
The current market scenario is indicative of an upsurge in demand from dairy products, as the consumption of dairy products is increasing at a healthy rate. For instance, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the per capita consumption of cheese amounted to 40.2 pounds in 2020. Moreover, the annual cheese consumption in 2020 was recorded highest in the European Union than the united states as the consumption accounted for 9,482 metric tons in the EU as compared to 5,766 metric tons in the United States according to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
Among all the dairy products, milk is a primary staple food and an essential part of a balanced diet containing a high percentage of calcium and other vital nutrients. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the US department of agriculture, worldwide milk production in the year 2020 amounted to around 532.25 million metric tons. In 2020, European Union was the leading producer of cow milk and produced about 157.5 million metric tons of cow milk, followed by the United States and India.
Carton packaging has conventionally been associated with milk, as it protects food and is also good for the environment. Paperboard is a frequently used material for making cartons for milk packaging. Also known as gable-top cartons, milk cartons is a common form of poly-coated paper packaging. By weight, milk cartons are 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. Paper milk cartons substituted refillable glass bottles in the 1950s, offering consumers a convenient, lightweight alternative.
Steady growth in the dairy beverage market, especially in Asia-Pacific, has led to the growth of flexible packaging of dairy products. Advantages such as long-shelf-life and no refrigeration are needed to aid the growth of flexible packaging over traditional packaging methods. According to Asia and Middle East Food Trade Journal, cartons are the most common packaging material for milk in the beverage market (around 51% share) and the entire sector of aseptically-packaged products (approximately 72% share) of December 2020.
In recent times, vacuum pouches with moderate (PA/PE) or high barrier (PA/EVOH/PE) properties have gained widespread acceptance. These film-based vacuum pouches are incorporated in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) applications and utilized mainly for dairy and protein packaging.
Asia Pacific is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
In the food industry, beyond convenience, other characteristics, such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste, influence the flexible packaging choice for meat, poultry, and seafood. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and National Bureau of Statistics of China, in 2020, the food industry in the country generated total profits of around CNY 620.66 billion.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW Japan), the volume share of generics in the Japanese prescription drugs market stood at around 78.3% in 2020. Over 35% of prescription drugs in the country are imported from the United States, and this demand is anticipated to increase as the country has a rapidly aging population demanding new medicines for associated conditions. Hence, such trends are expected to contribute to the market’s growth positively.
According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the sales volume of dairy food within the Indian packaged foods market amounted to about 26.45 million metric tons in 2020. This was a significant increase from about 22.03 million metric tons in 2019. The expansion and diversification of India’s food retail are expected to act as catalysts for dairy packaged foods, with urban areas accounting for more than 75% of the sales.
Australia has witnessed a significant increase in population in the last decade. For instance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country’s population increased from 22 million in 2010 to more than 25.6 million in 2020. This is anticipated to drive the demand for more consumables, like packaged meals, convenience packages, among others.
The Indonesian packaging industry growth is primarily driven by the country’s expanding population and higher demand for low-cost, flexible packaging. For instance, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2020, the total population of Indonesia increased to approximately 270.2 million inhabitants from 258.5 million inhabitants in 2016.
The Flexible Packaging Market is competitive owing to the presence of multiple vendors in the market. The market appears to be moderately concentrated, with the major players adopting strategies such as product innovation, mergers, and acquisitions to stay competitive in the market. Some of the major players in the industry are Amron Limited, Mondi Group, Berry Global Inc, Sealed Air Corporation, among others.
October 2021 - Berry Global and LyondellBasell collaborated to advance the goal of sustainably sourcing 100% of its customer-facing packaging by 2026. The collaboration supports the selection of plastic-lined paper cups with limited recyclability to single-substrate, clear plastic drink cups that more consumers will be able to recycle.
June 2021 -Coveris, with its technical capabilities, developed a new cereal liner solution. The Cereal+ liner has been created to deliver packer performance, improved shelf life. Coveris Cereal+ liner is made from fully recyclable polyethylene and provides product protection, freshness, and shelf life for cereals and dry foods packed in bag-in-box films.
The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
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