Flexible Packaging Market to Witness Comprehensive Growth by 2030

Flexible Packaging Market: Adoption of Bio-based and Biodegradable Products Gaining Traction

In recent years, the push to reduce the negative impact of certain types of packaging on the environment has had an influence on every industry, most notably packaging. In particular, stakeholders in the flexible packaging market are looking into the use of newer and different materials to align with this goal, including environment-friendly bio-based materials and biodegradable plastics. For instance, in July 2019, Huhtamäki Oyj launched compostable double-walled hot cups as a part of its Bioware product range – the Bioware Impresso, which utilizes 100% PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified paperboard, and use 25% less material that conventional cups that are double- and triple-walled.

This adoption of sustainable packaging and biodegradable raw materials also comes from shifting consumer trends, which is likely to have a positive impact on the growth of the global flexible packaging market. Bioplastics held a market share of ~US$ 3.8 Bn by value in 2018, and this segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~5% during the forecast years.

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Growing Demand from Food Sector to Boost Market Growth

The food sector has been the largest end user of flexible packaging, and in 2018, held a ~30% share of the global flexible packaging market. This is projected to rise over the forecast period at the rate of ~5%, and the food sector is likely to continue to hold the largest chunk of the revenue and sales in the market. This can be attributed to several benefits, including lowered production and transportation costs, customizable barrier properties, and protection of product integrity offered by flexible packaging.

However, the pharmaceuticals industry is quickly gaining significance in the flexible packaging market, projected to grow the fastest at a healthy pace of ~6% during the forecast period of 2019-2027. Customizable packaging, recyclability, and convenience are the major factors that have contributed to the growing popularity of flexible packaging in the pharmaceuticals sector. 

Market in APAC to Expand Substantially

The increasing demand for flexible packaging from Asia Pacific has propelled the growth of the market in the region, which, in 2018, accounted for over one-third of the revenue share of the global market, and is expected to expand at ~6% during the forecast years. The growth of the flexible packaging market in APAC can be attributed to several factors, including the rise in per capita demand for packaging from developing countries, concentration of producers of flexible packaging in the region, and increasing demand for sachets and stick packets.

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However, the flexible packaging market in North America also occupied a significant share of ~28% in the global landscape in 2018, and is likely to grow at a CAGR of ~5% over the forecast period. Pouches, sticks, and sachets are expected to remain popular within the North America market, thereby driving its growth. 

Competition Analysis

The global flexible packaging market landscape is considered to be fairly fragmented, with the top ten players – Amcor Plc, Winpak Ltd., Sealed Air Corporation, Sonoco Products Company, Berry Global Group, Inc., DS Smith Plc, Coveris Holdings S.A., Huhtamäki Oyj, Constantia Flexibles GmbH, and ProAmpac LLC accounting for ~7% of the total revenue share. These players are increasingly focusing on strengthening their position in the market and expanding their global standing through acquisitions. For instance, in February 2019, Sealed Air Corporation acquired MGM’s flexible packaging business, to expand its printing and lamination capabilities, to cater to the APAC region.

In order to align with the growing demand for sustainable packaging, players are also investing in research & development, geared towards environment-friendly materials and products. For instance, Stora Enso Oyj, a key player in the global flexible packaging market, introduced DuraSense®, a biocomposite material that is a mix of wood fiber and polymers, aimed at replacing plastic packaging components.

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Flexible Packaging Market: Analysts’ Overview

The global flexible packaging market, according to this study by Transparency Market Research, is set to grow at a moderate pace during the forecast years. With sustainability taking center stage, market players aiming at product innovation that is environment-friendly are likely to benefit from the lucrative opportunities in the landscape. Players catering to consumer preference for multi-layered packaging are likely to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Plastic, as a raw material, occupied around two-third of the total market share in 2018, and is likely to retain its place at the top during the forecast period. However, the popularity of paper is also increasing, expected to witness growth at ~5% in the foreseeable future, offering prospective opportunities for manufacturers in this global landscape. 

Increased Consumer Preference for Lightweight, Durable, and Aesthetic Packaging Solutions, Provided by Flexible, Packaging to Drive Market 

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the flexible packaging market for the historical period of 2014-2018and forecast period of 2019-2027, change in product design and appearance, along with ease of handling and storage of flexible packaging, is estimated to drive market growth.
  • Globally, revenue generated by the flexible packaging market is anticipated to reach ~ US$ 370 Bnin 2019, and is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~5% in terms of value during the forecast period. 

Increased Inclination towards Multilayer Film-based Products

  • The consumption of multilayer films has increased at a rapid pace across various end-use industries. The shift in preference from single layered films to multilayer films comes with various advantages. These advantages include extended shelf life without losing product fragrance and quality, along with reduced chances of contamination. These multilayer structures are produced through the processing of commodity plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene, center barrier resins, and tie resins, through their respective extruders.

Global Flexible Packaging Market Volume to Expand 1.4x Over Forecast Period

  • The global flexible packaging market is expected to register steady growth over the period of forecast, due to innovation in packaging material for flexible packaging formats such as pouches, bags, sachets, etc.

Global Flexible Packaging Market – Key Research Findings

  • The global flexible packaging market is primarily dominated by manufacturers that are based in Europe and the APAC regions, in terms of market share. The markets in MEA and APAC are anticipated to experience very healthy CAGRs of ~5%and ~6%, respectively, during the period of 2019-2027. India, and China are dominating markets in the APAC region.
  • Manufacturing companies of flexible packaging are engaged in innovations to improve the material used in the packaging of food products, and the introduction of sustainable, fully-recyclable, and high-barrier flexible packaging, with overall cost savings.
  • Innovations are ongoing in flexible packaging solutions that can lower the amount of carbon footprint and overcome handling hurdles. For instance, a company launched a unique and recyclable packaging that can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 64%.

Increase in Marketing of Innovative Flexible Packaging Solutions

  • Along with the continuous development and demand for new, different, and desirable characteristics, there is huge demand for products that are environmentally‐friendly, consumer convenient, and biodegradable.
  • Ongoing trends in the packaging market include the development of materials that possess high‐barrier properties and making biodegradable products. A recent application in the packaging industry has resulted in the development of a film that releases odors or aromas on the inside or outside of a package.

Improvisation in Material to Lower Hazardous Effect of Pollution

  • Mondi Group, an integrated packaging and paper group, which serves paper and packaging solutions, launched a new patented paper and barrier solution for food packaging, in natural brown.
  • In July 2019, Huhtamäki Oyj launched PeelGrid® – an innovative alternative to medical grid coated paper.

Global Flexible Packaging Market – Competition Landscape

  • Elaborated company profiles of the top players in the flexible packaging market are incorporated in the report to reveal their product offerings, financials, recent developments, and strategies. Some of the key players operating in the global flexible packaging market are
    • Amcor plc
    • Sealed Air Corporation
    • Berry Global Group, Inc.
    • Mondi Group
    • Sonoco Products Company
    • Huhtamäki Oyj
    • Constantia Flexibles GmbH
    • Winpak Ltd.
    • ProAmpac LLC
    • Coveris Holdings S.A.
    • Schur Flexibles Group
    • International Paper Company
    • CCL Industries Inc.
    • Smurfit Kappa Group plc
    • Stora Enso Oyj
    • WestRock Company
    • Pactiv LLC
    • Oji Holdings Corporation
    • DS Smith Plc
    • Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Global Flexible Packaging Market – Key Developments

Manufacturers in the global flexible packaging market are mainly concentrating on recognition and acquisitions to expand their production facilities for flexible packaging. At present, key participants in the flexible packaging market are focussing on the production of attractive, convenient, and innovative packaging. Focus on developing environment-friendly material to protect nature by cutting the amount and type of material used is the main criteria of manufacturing companies.

  • InJuly 2019, Coveris acquired Amberley Adhesive Labels Ltd., a company based in the U.K., to strengthen its Labels & Board business in flexible packaging.
  • In July 2019, ProAmpac LLC won two PAC Canadian Leadership packaging awards for its flexible packages.
  • In June 2019, Amcor acquired Bemis, to become a global leader in flexible packaging.
  • In February 2019, Sealed Air Corporation expanded its food packaging operations in Asia with the acquisition of MGM’S flexible packaging business.


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