Cast Film Manufacturers Create New Revenue Streams by Entering Versatile Industries

The packaging industry is becoming an integral part of a wide range of end-use industries. The increasing demand for see-through packaging solutions is triggering the demand for high-performance barrier materials, such as cast films. The demand for high-quality cast films is increasing, as the packaging industry is regulated by various governing bodies as well as environmental organizations, which has amplified the importance of optical properties and quality of the raw materials of cast films.

The cast films landscape is expanding into new industrial verticals, as market players are foraying into versatile areas of applications to improve the sales potential of cast films. Pharmaceuticals and personal care industries are emerging as top new application areas for cast films market players, and this is triggering innovation in the landscape, as manufacturers are focusing on meeting the specific requirements of end users in these industries.

Right from innovation in engineered plastic, which is the primary raw material in cast films, to unique features of cast film-based packaging solutions, such as anti-counterfeiting cast film labels for pharmaceuticals, the cast films landscape is attracting investors. Transparency Market Research (TMR) thoroughly studies the market, in its latest offering, and offers exclusive and actionable insights for market players to gain an edge in this landscape.

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Cast Films Market: Innovation Centered around Raw Materials

The cast films market grew at a healthy CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) during 2014-2018, reaching a valuation of ~ US$ 60.2 billion in 2018. With their performance benefits over blown films, the demand for cast films is expected to prevail in the coming years. Market players are now competing on the distinguished performance characteristics of cast films by adopting high-performance raw materials.

TMR’s study finds that, polypropylene is the most widely used raw material in the cast films landscape, owing to its superior performance characteristics over other plastics used in cast films. Many market players are also experimenting by using innovative raw materials by combining two different materials to further boost the performance characteristics of cast films.

In addition, sustainability is becoming an important aspect for manufacturers in the cast films landscape, as end users are willing to reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses, and consumers are becoming more aware about the recyclability of plastic-based packaging materials. However, owing to the complexity of packaging formats of cast film-derived packaging solutions, recycling multilayer cast film packaging on a commercial scale is becoming a critical challenge for stakeholders in the cast films market.

Rising Demand for Cast Films in Multilayer Pouches to Define Future Market Trends

The global market for flexible packaging solutions is expanding rapidly, and most of the stakeholders’ actions are determined by consumer product purchasing behavior. The cast films landscape is taking shape based on the same phenomenon, as dynamic factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions are redefining the trends in this market.

Consumers are gradually switching to smaller serving sizes, especially when it comes to food products or beverages, and the demand for lightweight packaging is increasing. With a mounting number of consumers voicing their demand for compact and convenience packaging in products, the applications of cast films in manufacturing compact packaging such as pouches are likely to surge in the coming years.

TMR’s study finds that, in 2018, pouches accounted for ~ 41% revenue share of the cast films landscape, recording a sales of ~13,463 kilo tons. Market players are likely to increase focus on tracking consumers’ changing purchasing patterns to offer more appropriate features of cast films for pouches, and ultimately, to further enhance their sales performance.

Consumer inclination towards transparency while purchasing products, especially food items and personal care products, will have a paramount impact on the emerging trends in the packaging industry, ergo in the cast films market. With the imposition of labeling regulations and growing awareness about the ‘clean label’ movement, the demand for cast films in see-through packaging solutions, including pouches, is expected to reach new heights.

Multilayer cast film pouches are likely to witness high demand in the coming years, shaping the future trends in the cast films market. Manufacturers are likely to increase focus on applications in the food & beverage industry to design cast film pouches that are aesthetically appealing and can maximize processing efficiencies, to capitalize on this trend.

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Asia Pacific to Remain a Top Revenue Pocket for Cast Film Manufacturers

The packaging industry is witnessing burgeoning growth, worldwide. However, the business climate is far more favorable for cast film manufacturers in Asia Pacific. The increasing demand for cast film in packaging solutions in developing countries in Asia Pacific is mainly attributed to the increasing growth of the industrial landscape in this region.

Cast films worth ~ US$ 27 billion were sold in countries in Asia Pacific, including China, India, Japan, Australia & New Zealand, and ASEAN countries, in 2018, accounting for two-fifth revenue share of the global market. With ongoing developments in Asia Pacific’s industrial landscape, cast film manufacturers are adopting new strategies to sync with the evolving needs of the packaging industry in the region.

The adoption of next generation technologies to boost manufacturing efficiencies and production capabilities is expected to emerge as a winning strategy for manufacturers in Asia Pacific. Stakeholders are likely to expand their manufacturing facilities in the region to cater to the burgeoning domestic demand triggered by rising industrial growth.

In addition, the adoption of innovative and high-performance raw materials, including engineered plastics, will remain instrumental for businesses to gain momentum in Asia Pacific’s cast films market. The intensifying competitive landscape will trigger market players to invest heavily in research & development (R&D) to offer high-quality packaging solutions with improved performance of cast films.

New Entrants and Small Businesses Sprouting Up in Asia to Intensify Competition

The global market for cast films is witnessing healthy growth, with a significant upsurge in demand across the ever-expanding packaging industry. Though leading companies have a stronghold in this competitive landscape with their global reach and worldwide network of distributors, small companies are capturing local markets for cast films by virtue of introducing products at competitive prices.

Asia Pacific is home to a mounting number of start-ups and small businesses making a move towards up-scaling their position in the global market for cast films. Though new entrants and emerging players do not compete with the frontrunners in the cast films landscape, they are expanding their production capabilities in Asia Pacific to strengthen their foothold in the cast films market.

Companies such as Jindal Poly Films Limited and Polyplex Corporation have recently announced that they will be expanding their base in developing Asian countries such as India and Indonesia. Meanwhile, leading companies are adopting inorganic growth strategies in order to maintain an edge in the cast films market, by joining forces with other prominent players in this landscape. In addition, frontrunners are also focusing on their sustainability policies to comply with stringent regulations and create a strong brand image to boost their sales performance in this landscape.

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Emphasis on Consumer Convenience & Aesthetic Appeal to Translate into Growth Opportunities

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the cast films market for the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, the increased demand for packaged food and preference towards flexible packaging are projected to drive market growth.
  • Globally, revenue generated by the cast films market has been estimated to be ~ 62.7 Bn in 2019, and is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~ 4% in terms of value during the forecast period.

Cast Films to Gain Ground Attributed to their Distinguished Performance Characteristics

  • Cast films have made their way in the market as a flexible packaging solution. Cast films are relatively clearer and more resistant to tear propagation, which has given these films an edge over extruded blown films. Cast films can be used in monolayer as well as multilayer structures, depending upon the application.
  • The multilayered structure enhances their barrier properties, significantly, making cast films suitable for several packaging applications. Due to their barrier properties, cast films are widely used in food packaging. Also, cast films provide optimum results with the least amount of film used.
  • Brand owners seek compact packaging solutions that are also easy to open and reseal, so as to make them more usable.

Global Cast Films Market Volume Projected to Expand ~ 1.5X over the Forecast Period

  • The global cast films market is expected to register steady growth during the period of forecast. This growth is expected to be driven by the growing demand for packaged food and inclination towards flexible packaging formats.
  • Co-extruded cast films provide better heat resistance and protection properties. The blending of different thermoplastic polymers offers excellent heat- and moisture-resistant properties, which make them more suitable for food packaging applications.
  • Moreover, convenience is observed as one of the most critical attributes from the perspective of end consumers while choosing packaging formats, whereas, brand visibility and shelf life are priorities for brand owners. The use of cast films aids in achieving these characteristics, and is thus, expected to accelerate market growth in the near future.

Global Cast Films Market: Key Research Findings

  • Among the various packaging formats, pouches are estimated to be prominent in the global cast films market, and are expected to account for ~ 40% of the market share by the end of 2019. Different pouch types are used in several end-use industries, as they offer various closure options, resealability, and ease of carrying.
  • Multi-layered cast films are more prominently used due to their barrier properties. PVDC and EVOH layers are added to achieve these properties. Different substrate materials offer different characteristics. For instance, PP enhances thermoformability, while PE is used when high heat sealability is required.
  • Among the various material types, polypropylene is used most prominently for manufacturing cast films, followed by polyethylene. This preference can be attributed to superior machinability, seal strength, and puncture resistance offered by cast polypropylene films. However, the polyamide segment is anticipated to gain market share and grow at a CAGR of ~ 5% during 2019-2027.
  • The 30-50 micron segment in the cast films market is expected to create an incremental opportunity of ~ US$ 12 Bn by 2027. Cast films use additives to enhance their properties, which help in achieving the desired characteristics at low thicknesses.
  • The food & beverages segment has emerged as a key end-use industry for cast films. Rising concerns regarding extended shelf life to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain have aided in bolstering the demand for cast films. Pouches, including stand up and retort pouches, and wrapping films used for food packaging are among the most prominent applications of cast films.

Increasing Demand for See-through Packaging Solutions Due to Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

  • Transparent packaging imparts aesthetic appeal, and hence, enhances the shelf visibility of a product. This factor is propelling the usage of cast films in the consumer goods market, where product differentiation is at the epicenter of manufacturers’ focus. Transparent surfaces can be achieved by using cast films, as they offer superior transparency and gloss to the package.
  • This transparency also saves printing, labelling, and other decoration costs on packaging, as majority of the surface is used to provide visual appeal to the package. Thus, incorporating transparent cast films is an efficient way of advertising a product without the requirement of any external means. The demand for transparent or see-through packaging is higher in the developed countries of North America, Western Europe, and Japan, and is gradually emerging in the developing countries of the Asia Pacific and MEA.

Global Cast Films Market: Competition Landscape

Some of the key players operating in the global cast films market are

  • Uflex Ltd.
  • Jindal Poly Films Limited
  • Berry Global, Inc.
  • Scientex Berhad
  • Winpak Ltd.
  • Intertape Polymer Group Inc.
  • Bemis Company, Inc.
  • RKW Hyplast Nv
  • Clondalkin Group Holdings BV
  • Bischof + Klein SE & Co. KG
  • Polyplex Corporation Ltd
  • Profol Kunststoffe GmbH
  • POLIFILM GmbH
  • Copol International Ltd.
  • Oben Holding Group S.A.C.
  • Sigma Plastics Group, Inc.
  • Paragon Films, Inc.
  • Flair Flexible Packaging Corporation
  • Manuli Packaging (UK) Ltd.
  • Taghleef Industries LLC

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