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Flexible packaging market to undergo a consequential transformation following the emerging sustainability trend; F&B, pharma, and personal care sectors to collectively influence the industry dynamics
Published Date: June 20, 2017 Author: Ojaswita Kutepatil
Leading the way in packaging innovation, flexible packaging industry will continue to advance at an unprecedented rate over the coming few years. Flexible packaging techniques not only add value and a marketability label to the product, but also ensure safety, barrier protection, strength, convenience, and an extended shelf life. As consumers are becoming more aware of the type and quality of the goods they purchase, it is imperative that they choose to seek convenience and sustainability features in packaging. In addition, consumers focus on the type of packaging that holds the product, as it is the representation and the voice of the brand itself, that will speak volumes and influence product sales.
In today’s economy, product advertising and marketing is more important than ever before. Decades before, paper, aluminum, metal, and cellophane were the main and only packaging options. However, technological advancements and innovations in the packaging industry have led the flexible packaging segment to pave its way through other packaging sectors and establish a strong global foothold. Industry analysts estimate the flexible packaging market to continue its strong influence within global packaging sector. In 2015, flexible packaging industry size stood at USD 150 billion, and is estimated to surpass USD 250 billion by 2024, as per an analysis report by Global Market Insights, Inc.
Flexible packaging market trends in the food & beverages sector
The food & beverages sector is estimated to be one of the fastest growing application avenues in the flexible packaging market. Growing health concerns, importance of food nutrition, and preservation of packaged food have driven the growth of flexible packaging industry to a great extent. Minimal contamination risk and longer shelf life associated with high-grade packaging methods have further provided a major push to the industry share. The food & beverages application segment accounted for more than 50% of the overall flexible packaging industry in 2015, as the global F&B industry witnessed a phenomenal transition – that of items packaged in rigid containers to those encased in high quality flexible packaging. The current trend in F&B packaging is that of high-performance film structures which can maintain the shelf life and enhance flavors. As per the estimates, global high-performance films market will register a CAGR of 6% over 2016-2024.
Of late, with the global population treading toward a sedentary lifestyle, the demand for packaged meals has increased considerably, given that the lure of not requiring to prepare meals from scratch after a hectic day at work is way too tempting. Taking advantage of the current social and economic trends, processed and frozen food consumption has witnessed a sharp growth over the past few years. The consumption of packaged fish, meat, and poultry has surged over the years, as these products are equipped to last longer. Moreover, the modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) method is also favoring flexible packaging market, as pre-cooked, pre-sliced, and pre-roasted products are becoming increasingly popular.
Stand-up pouches and pillows are the two most widely used flexible packaging products in the food & beverages industry. The demand for these packaging products is greatly influenced by the trend toward more convenient food purchases such as ready meals, seafood & exotic meats, fresh pasta, partly baked rolls and breads, etc. The global liquid pouch packaging market is projected to exceed a market size of 7000 kilo tons by 2024, according to Global Market Insights, Inc.
Flexible packaging market trends in the pharmaceuticals sector
The pharmaceutical sector has given numerous opportunities to flexible packaging industry to diversify and innovate. With the pharma industry registering lucrative y-o-y gains, the demand for flexible packaging market is also expected to grow over the coming years. This sector demands the utilization of convenient packaging features, subject to which flexible packaging industry has come up with innovations such as child resistance, anti-counterfeit, and tamper proof packaging. The pharmaceutical sector also needs a packaging solution that is a combination of protection, quality, and convenience, which gives a broader scope for flexible packaging industry to expand.
The rapidly increasing awareness among consumers across the globe regarding the importance of high grade, biodegradable packaging has made it obligatory for packaging products to undergo a paradigm shift. In the recent years, the pharmaceutical companies have switched from glass packaging to PET bottles for packaging their medications and syrups. As flexible packaging is very light in weight, it has been proved that one truckload of vacant flat pouches is equal to over 75 truckloads of empty rigid containers. Developments in the pharma industry have thus pushed the companies operating in flexible packaging market to be more competitive, novel, and economical.
It has been observed that flexible packaging industry participants are undertaking renewed efforts to manufacture high quality, bio-based packaging products. At the 61st annual competition of the Flexible Packaging Association, Amcor’s Fortis medical breather bag won a Gold award for Technical Innovation. This product was found to be stronger and abuse resistant than most other breather bags. With its peelable seal, the package also proves to be easy to strip off. In addition, this Fortis medical bag has also proven to improve the performance of sterilized medical products which are used in operating rooms.
Flexible packaging market trends in the personal care & cosmetics sector
Constant technological developments and innovations in flexible packaging have helped the industry to stay abreast with the changing market dynamics and consumer demand. All through, sustainability and low waste have remained crucial factors responsible for the growth of flexible packaging market. Sustainability has become one of the most important trend in most industries, especially across the personal care market. In order to reduce carbon emissions, many cosmetic brand owners have started replacing rigid packaging with flexible packaging alternatives which have provided significant impetus to the global flexible packaging industry.
Natura Cosmeticos – a leading company of cosmetics in Brazil has recently proved that it keeps abreast of the latest developments and technological innovations in flexible packaging industry. Natura has presented a new line of cosmetics and personal care products called Sou. All the items ranging from liquid soaps to shampoos and moisturizing creams to hair conditioners are packaged in innovative stand-up pouches with a tear-drop shape which is sealed with a flip-top cap. These products are not only convenient and attractive but are also cost effective compared to other similar brand portfolios. As per reliable statistics, these flexible packs required 70% less plastic in comparison with rigid plastic containers of the same volume.
It is imperative for flexible packaging industry to provide effective design requirements for the cosmetics market as some products such as shampoos, sunscreens, blemish treatment products, and anti-wrinkle creams contain aggressive ingredients. For this purpose, flexible packaging industry has provided the cosmetic & personal care industry with multi-layer barrier films and chemical-resistant packaging solutions.
As per a flexible packaging industry analysis report by Global Market Insights, Inc., this industry is slated to register a healthy growth rate of more than 5% over the period of 2016-2024. Such packaging solutions have provided significant reductions in material use, packaging and transportation costs, energy consumption, and wastage. Flexible packaging techniques have also enabled protection of the environment through responsible use of resources. With the rapid growth of myriad end-use sectors, flexible packaging market trends will continue to remain buoyant in the times to come.
Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled “Flexible Packaging Market Size By Material (Polymer [PE, PP, PET], Paper, Aluminum, Cellulosic), By Product (Pillow Pouches, Stand-up Pouches, Four Side Seal Pouches), By Application (Food & Beverage, Personal Care, Healthcare, Industrial), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, Netherlands, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa), Growth Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2016 – 2024” available at https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/flexible-packaging-market