The global market for flexible packaging is expected to be valued at US$238.5 bn by the end of 2016 and US$358.7 bn by the end of 2024. This will be achieved through a projected CAGR of 5.2% from 2016 to 2024 in revenue.
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In terms of materials, a majority of the global flexible packaging market uses polymers. By the end of 2024, the usage of polymers in flexible packaging is expected to be valued at US$223.5 bn, much more than the other segments such as cellulosic and aluminum.
Stand-up pouches are expected to remain the leading product type manufactured in flexible packaging. By the end of 2024, stand-up pouch products are expected to generate a revenue of US$85.9 bn. Its leading demand is attributed to the ease of storage of stand-up pouches, superior extension of shelf life for fluid contents, and above average abilities of taking on flexographic print.
Europe Demand for Flexible Packaging to Stagnate in Growth but Continue to Dominate
The demand for flexible packaging in Europe is expected to grow at a nearly stagnated rate. However, the volume of demand is already high enough to achieve the leading position among key regions till 2024. By the end of 2024, the revenue generated by Europe flexible packaging manufacturers is expected to reach US$117.7 bn.
The demand for flexible packaging in North America is similarly saturated. The Asia Pacific region is expected to provide a shot in the arm for globally prominent flexible packaging manufacturers by displaying an above average rate of increase in demand.
Scope of Using Flexible Packaging in Primary Packaging Drastically Improved
“Over the past few years, a large number of new products that were launched came in flexible packaging. In developed economies, more than 70% of the commercially available fresh fruits and vegetables are now stored in flexible packaging. Developments in the materials used in flexible packaging have allowed for a far greater scope of use for them in different parts of the consumer goods sector and especially in the food and beverages industry,” states a TMR analyst.
Flexible packaging provides superior characteristics to a wide range of products. This packaging is lighter, difficult to tamper with without visible damage, provides a sound barrier against external germs by completely sealing the contents within, and can significantly extend the life span of perishable products.
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Limitations in Recycling Hinder Growth of Flexible Packaging
Recycling of plastics and polymer products is an absolute necessity in today’s world. The consumer goods industry is targeted for a large quantity of plastics that are expected to be recycled after use. This is relatively easier for most plastic products, but in the case of flexible packaging, the presence of multiple layers of different types of materials can significantly complicate their recycling process. This includes plastic-metal packaging which is commonly used in post-consumer pouches.
“They key to future opportunities in flexible packaging lie in the use of specialty films and bio-based raw materials. The former can be substantially more protective of the package contents, while the latter can allow flexible packaging manufacturers to forgo procuring raw materials from petrochemicals, which is a volatile matter,” adds the analyst.
The global market for flexible packaging has experienced a decent amount of mergers and acquisitions recently, adding to the market’s level of consolidation. A large number of these activities were conducted within Europe and North America.
Key players such as Amcor Limited, The Dow Chemical Company, and Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Wentus, are spearheading the development and innovation of flexible packaging, significantly increase their scope of use.
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