Global breathable films market size is set to expand considerably over 2021-2027 due to the growing adoption of the polymer for manufacturing of absorbent hygiene products, including baby diapers, adult incontinence products, and protective apparel for commercial and retail applications. Likewise, the emergence of the breathable polymer film as an effective material for preserving foods, owing to its capability to ensure oxygen- and moisture-controlled packaging, will further drive industry growth.
Breathable films refer to polymer-based, cost-effective films that can provide moisture control in a range of applications where breathability is a key parameter for user comfort. Laser processing technology is being increasingly deployed in creating controlled breathable packaging, as it can help increase gas exchange rates or control the release of moisture from perishable packaged foods.
Rising implementation of stringent regulations to prohibit the use of single-use plastics is one of the major trends characterizing the overall breathable films market expansion over 2021-2027. Poligof, for instance, announced an investment towards establishing a multilayer blown extrusion as well as MDO line, along with a flexo press, in 2021. This spending was geared towards meeting the robust demand for low-gsm, high-yield breathable films and reducing the adoption of plastics in disposable hygiene products. Furthermore, shifting focus towards the development of sustainable packaging products will also augment the production of bio-based breathable films derived from renewable sources.
Based on product, the polyurethane segment is projected to hold an appreciable share in the breathable films industry by 2027, given the increasing penetration of new products in varied applications including textiles. For example, American Polymer unveiled a new line of breathable polyurethane films, which exhibit mechanical properties like low-temperature flexibility, high durability, and abrasion resistance. Growth from this segment is also attributable to the rising deployment of thermoplastic polyurethane films in water-resistant, breathable textile applications.
On the regional front, the Europe breathable films market will amass considerable gains by 2021.This growth is driven mainly by the significant expansion of the cosmetics and personal care industries in the region, given the key role of breathable films in the production of advanced hygiene and personal care products. In addition, a commendable surge in demand for specialist protective clothing due to stringent European safety legislations will further escalate the sales of breathable films over the estimated timeline.
The competitive landscape of the global breathable films market consists of companies such as Clopay Plastic Products Company (Berry Global Group), Arkema, Mitsui Chemicals Inc., RKW, Fatra, a.s. (Agrofert), Celanese Corporation, Trioplast Industries, Toray Industries, Nitto Denko Corporation, and Omflex, among others. Strategic mergers and acquisitions and business expansions are some of the key initiatives being undertaken by the industry players to boost their share and footprint in the global market. For instance, in December 2020, Berry Global Group announced that phase one of phase three of its $20 million Sof-Flex film expansion plan was on track to be operational. This initiative was taken to expand its network of breathable films producing plants in the U.S.
The food and beverages industry has been witnessing dramatic impacts induced by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Meat packing, for example, experienced short-term challenges during the outbreak, resulting in consumer shortages. Meanwhile, the closure of sporting venues and arenas also negatively influenced the adoption of packaging across the food services sector, in turn restricting the deployment of breathable film technology in packaging applications.
However, the strong focus on optimization of the supply of personal protective equipment in the healthcare setting to mitigate COVID-19 virus spread may contribute to the breathable films industry recovery. The burgeoning use of breathable films in other protective clothing like surgical gowns and face shields, which are being widely adopted during the crisis, will also stimulate industry expansion in the years ahead.