Healthcare Industry Fuels Demand for Packaging Options amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Packaging companies are shifting their non-essential packaging capacities to essential packaging for meeting unprecedented demand in healthcare and food sectors during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Companies in the flexible packaging for healthcare market are capitalizing on business opportunities since healthcare, personal care products, and food fall into the bracket of essential services. However, packaging companies are bearing the brunt of declining demand in non-essential industries. Moreover, lockdown and restricted movement in major countries such as France, the U.S., India, and Russia are likely to inhibit growth of the flexible packaging for healthcare market.

HDPE containers, pharmaceutical pumps, and bottles are in high demand during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, international trade has been affected due to heavy taxation. Hence, companies are relying on local production to main steady supply chains.

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3D Printing and New Stains in Flexible Packaging Films Reduce Waste in Landfills

Similar to plastics, manufacturers in the flexible packaging for healthcare market are increasing efforts to reduce waste. Sustainable innovations involve the introduction of 3D printing. The use of new stains and films is contributing toward the growth of the flexible packaging for healthcare market.

3D printing is being highly publicized in the healthcare landscape for reducing production costs whilst reducing flexible plastic packaging waste. Moreover, small batch production via 3D printing ensures faster route to the market. This increases product uptake and boosts overall market growth. Manufacturers are increasing their production capabilities to develop products using eco-friendly and lightweight materials. New stains in flexible packaging films enable fast degradation of packaging waste in landfills.

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Plastics: Hero or Villain in Flexible Packaging for Healthcare?

Lately, plastics are under scrutiny for its various advantages and disadvantages for pharmaceutical applications. Its disadvantages involve poor physical stability after interaction between the formulation and the container. However, plastics are expected to dictate the highest value share among all material types in the flexible packaging for healthcare market.

Resistance to leakage and lightweight attributes of plastics tend to offset its disadvantages. Manufacturers in the flexible packaging for healthcare market are adopting different plastic molding techniques such as injection molding, blow molding, and thermoforming to meet specific requirements of pharmaceutical clients. They are producing flexible tubes, sachets, and blister packs among others to scale revenue streams.

Manufacturers Shift Focus from Material Type to Less Material for Extending Packaging Lifecycle

The flexible packaging for healthcare market is projected to advance at a CAGR of 5.3% during the assessment period. This is evident since manufacturers are innovating in sustainable materials such as compostable starch-based and biodegradable films. They are adopting production strategies such as consolidation to fewer films in order to maximize order quantities. On the other hand, manufacturers are increasing their production capacities in squeezable bottles used to package nasal sprays, ear drops, and eye drops.

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Companies in the flexible packaging for healthcare market are increasing efforts to extend the lifecycle of materials by reducing the carbon footprint. Instead of focusing on material type, manufacturers are utilizing less volume of material to extend the lifecycle of flexible packaging options. In order to achieve this, manufacturers are maximizing their warehouse space by lessening their packaging waste. Re-using plastic materials is emerging as a key alternative to minimize plastic waste.

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Flexible Packaging for Healthcare Market – Overview

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest report on the global flexible packaging for healthcare market for the forecast period of 2020-2028, the market is estimated to be driven by growing demand of pouches and bags in the pharma & biological industries, which has paved by robust use flexible packaging products
  • The global flexible packaging for healthcare market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period. Several medical products packaging manufacturers prefer flexible packaging, owing to its high barrier properties and flawless print finish for bags & sacks, tapes, and labels further lifting the growth of the flexible packaging for healthcare market across the globe.

Flexible Packaging Products Largely Taking Over Rigid Packaging in Healthcare Industry

  • The global flexible packaging for healthcare market is largely driven by consumer convenience, and therefore vendors need to focus on consumer friendly designs of packaging solutions, which includes features such as easy-open and re-sealable packaging
  • Rigid packaging products that were traditionally preferred in pharmaceutical and food industries are rapidly being replaced by flexible packaging products made of plastics and paper. Preferably plastics, due to their lightweight, flexibility, and durability, are increasingly replacing rigid packaging made of plastics and other non-plastic materials, including glass and metal.
  • This is expected to positively impact the growth of the flexible packaging for healthcare market. New advancements in flexible packaging for healthcare have led to the introduction of improved sachets & stick packs designs for convenient healthcare products.
  • Plastic flexible packaging products can be made in opaque as well as transparent forms, depending upon merchandising requirements of the product and also occupy less space in storage shipment, which reduces the warehousing and shipments cost. This increases the overall cost efficiency for manufacturers.
  • As a result of its properties, flexible packaging products made of plastics allow product manufacturers and brands the ability to increase product appeal through innovative packaging designs

Large Millennial Population Emphasizing on Importance of Labelling in Healthcare Packaging

  • Millennial is a generation which guides trends. Brands in the healthcare industry must prepare for millennial behavior and attitude regarding the way they research and consume before making purchase decisions. They like to interact with brands that are open and maintain transparency by addressing environmental and socioeconomic issues. Brands not aligning to these values are likely to be quickly replaced, owing to competition in the market.
  • For instance, health-consciousness and desire for healthy lifestyle is driving the nutraceuticals industry. Millennial making purchase decisions are now beyond traditional drivers, that is taste, price or convenience. They are inclined toward brand authenticity, and the perception of how the brand is impacting their life and the world in a positive manner. Interest in clean labels in nutraceutical products; for instance, preference for plant-based protein is driving the market. Thus, it becomes important for manufacturers to label and promote products in the right manner.
  • This provides brand owners a lucrative opportunity to adopt new labelling solutions such as app-based labelling solutions, where one can easily find information about the product in detail. This will help the brand create sustainable businesses taking them a long way by enhancing brand value, customer loyalty, and growing market share.

Flexible Packaging for Healthcare Market: Key Findings

  • Most manufacturers prefer to use plastic material sub-segment, specifically polyethylene to manufacture flexible packaging for healthcare products due to lightweight nature. The plastic segment is estimated to capture more than 3/5th of the market share by the end of 2028, which can be mainly attributed to its high and stable quality from manufacturing to service life.
  • Among product types, bags & sacks and pouches segments are anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period. Cumulatively, the segments are projected to hold around 43% of the global flexible packaging for healthcare market share.
  • As per the TMR analysis, medical supplies are expected to dominate the flexible packaging for healthcare market. Therefore, by the end of 2025, the segment is anticipated to account for nearly 42% market share.
  • In terms of market share, Asia Pacific is the prominent region in the global flexible packaging for healthcare market. Expansion of pharmaceutical and medical industries is the key factor for the rapid growth of the flexible packaging for healthcare market in the region.

Flexible Packaging for Healthcare Market: Competition Landscape

  • TMR analysed that the global flexible packaging for healthcare market is slightly competitive, owing to existing big players and entry of some local players. This completion among key players is carefully studied based on developments, strategies, and segmental revenue of the company over the past five years.
  • TMR study includes outlines of key players in the latest flexible packaging for healthcare market, which includes
    • Amcor PLC
    • Sealed Air Corporation
    • Sonoco Products Company
    • Becton, Dickinson & Company
    • Winpak Ltd.
    • Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH
    • Berry Global Group, Inc.
    • DS Smith Plc
    • CCL Industries Inc.
    • Coveris Holdings S.A
    • WestRock Company
    • Huhtamaki Oyj.
    • Mondi Plc
  •  Honeywell International, Inc.
  • TMR distinguished these flexible packaging for healthcare market players as per their segmental earnings into different tier slabs. Among these players, Amcor Plc, Mondi Plc, DS Smith PLC, and Berry Global Group, Inc. are identified as Tier 1 companies. The Tier 2 players include WestRock Company, Huhtamaki Oyj., Sonoco Products Company, Sealed Air Corporation, and Coveris Holdings S.A. Tier 3 players are Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH, CCL Industries Inc., Winpak Ltd., Honeywell International Inc., and Becton, Dickinson & Company, and among other players.

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