Flexible Packaging Market

Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020) – Growth Trends, and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)

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Flexible Packaging Demand Mostly Reliant on Cost-effectiveness and Convenience

The global packaging industry has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, especially since the creation of flexible films. Flexible packaging allows packaging to take shape as per the product or as desired to suit the said requirements. This kind of packaging is often found in non-rigid structures such as tubes, pouches, shrink films, bags, and carded packaging.

The flexible packaging industry is one of the most vibrant segments of the packaging industry, owing to its increased functional benefits. Ease of handling and storage, convenience, and overall cost savings are some of the major factors that have contributed to the flexible packaging’s continued success. The global flexible packaging market has cemented itself in the packaging industry with its positive attributes and numerous technical developments. Apart from this, cost, source reduction advantages, and performance coupled with the high barrier resins and value-added features have tremendously contributed to the growth of the flexible packaging over the rigid packaging.

Evolving Landscape of Food and Beverage Industry to Benefit Flexible Packaging Market

The evolving food and beverage industry is expected to contribute more than 50% of the total demand for flexible packaging globally. The majority of the key players operating in the food and beverage industry are shifting towards the utilization of flexible packaging units as a replacement for traditional rigid packaging formats to provide improved storage efficiency, marketability, and source reduction. Additionally, convenience features and the utilization of high-performance materials are expected to aid gains in terms of volume, as these additions can make flexible packaging formats more competitive in more demanding applications, as compared to rigid packaging formats.

The emergence of dual-income families, shrinking household sizes, and the amplifying snacking trend are some of the demographic factors that have further promoted the demand for flexible packaging in the food and beverage industry. Pouches and lightweight bags are expected to witness increased demand for the unit packaging of different food products including frozen food, baked goods, meat and poultry, candies, and many others. The global food and beverage industry is also witnessing a major shift towards flexible packaging formats for products that contain high liquid contents, right from soups to cocktails. Convenience and ease of use, extended shelf life, food safety, environmental friendliness, branding functionality, and adaptability are the competitive benefits offered by flexible packaging formats to food and beverage brands across the market.

Pouches Segment to Dominate Global Flexible Packaging Market

By product type, the pouches segment is expected to witness the fastest gains in the forecast period, owing to the emerging trends that favor high-performance pouches over commodity types. Pouches are one of the most versatile flexible packaging formats in different industrial applications that can stand upright on shelves and providing the intended air-tight closures, ease of handling, and food safety.

The increasing demand for pouches is also triggered by its ability to provide multiple layers of protection that are customizable to accommodate a variety of products. Majority of the companies operating in the food and beverage industry are increasingly adopting the use of pouches, so as to ensure food safety and extended shelf life. Pouches also offer the flexibility of being tailored to offer customized sizes, styles, and designs to attract customers. These are the major factors contributing to the high growth rate of pouches in the global flexible packaging market.

Asia Pacific Anticipated to Hold Potential Opportunities for Flexible Packaging Market

Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the global packaging industry, accounting for more than 35% of the global share in the flexible packaging market. This can be attributed to the rapid pace of urbanization, dynamically growing middle class, economic growth, rising disposable income, booming e-commerce, and increased preference for ready-to-eat meals and smaller packaging units, especially in the developing countries such as India, China, Japan, and few others. The aging demographic in these countries are expected to trigger the growth in pharmaceutical, medical, and hospital packaging.

The increasingly sophisticated and growing flexible packaging industry and upstream supply base have heightened the expectations for flexible packaging in these countries. According to the IBEF, India is a high potential market for the processed food industry owing to its large population, which further stimulates the demand for flexible packaging. The well-organized retail industry, the emergence of hypermarkets/supermarkets, and the supporting government policies are the factors that will further boost the development of flexible packaging market in this country.

Competitive Landscape: Slightly Fragmented Market Structure  

Some of the key players operating in the flexible packaging market are Amcor PLC, Ampac Holdings, Wheel Flexible Packaging, Eagle Flexible Packaging, Sanjeev Flexi-Pack Pvt. Ltd., UFlex Limited, Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH, Sonoco Products Company, Bemis Company, Inc., Mondi Group, Coveris Holdings S.A., Clondalkin Group Holdings B.V., Sealed Air Corporation, ProAmpac, and few others. Majority of the key players are focusing on business expansion through different strategies including acquisitions, partnerships, mergers product-development strategies.

Some key developments witnessed in the flexible packaging market are:

  • In June 2019, Amcor announced the acquisition of Bemis Company Inc. to strengthen its position in the global packaging industry.
  • In 2018, Constantia Flexibles Group announced the acquisition of majority of shares of Creative Polypack Limited. Creative Polypack limited is one of the India’s leading organization’s operating in the flexible packaging market. With this acquisition, the company strengthened its position in the Asian packaging market.

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