Thermoform Packaging Market

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

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Industry: Chemicals & Materials | Author Name: Harshad

Thermoform Packaging Demand Based on its Transparency and Lightweight

Thermoforming refers to the process of changing a plastic sheet into a 3-dimensional shape by employing heat, vacuum, and pressure. It is a production process wherein a plastic sheet is heated up to a forming temperature to form a specific shape in a mold, thereby creating containers and clamshell. Thermoformed packaging offer excellent transparency, sealable, shatter-proof, lightweight, and shatter-resistant. Owing to these properties they are often considered as excellent choice for packaging products including fresh fruits, salads, takeout foods and a myriad of other products. Furthermore, high oxygen barrier helps in maximizing shelf life of food, thereby retaining freshness, color, and flavor. These features are expected contribute toward the growth market in coming years. Global market for thermoform packaging is expected to witness high growth in coming years, due to rising demand for ready-to-eat products, which is estimated to grow at a growth rate of more than 6% by 2025.

Thermoforming has a number of features that set it apart from other forms of molding. Among the benefits are the following:

  • The ability to make multiple finished parts from a single piece of material
  • It allows for the early discovery of potential design and fit flaws, saving time and money.
  • It's useful when you're working with a lot of parts.

Growing Demand for Packed Food Products to offer Lucrative Opportunities

Food packaging is the most common application for thermoformed items. The modern food supply chain uses many forms of thermoformed articles. Food-related uses include meat trays, microwave & deep freeze containers, ice cream and margarine tubs, delicatessen tubs, snack tubs, bakery and patisserie packaging, sandwich packs, and vending drink cups, to name a few. Manufacturing collation trays, blister packaging, and point-of-sale display trays are examples of non-food usage.

Growing on-the-go food consumption, illustration of contactless production, changing e-commerce delivery methods, preference towards sophisticated packaging is anticipated to develop substantial growth over coming years. Further, increasing penetration of online platforms are some of the pivotal strategies adopted by companies such as Takeaway.com, Ele.me, Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd., and Doordash for take-out & delivery options. Thermoformed products including trays, containers, cups, plates, etc. are extensively used in foodservice sector for table offering and parcel packing. Cost-effectiveness, lightweight, and high aesthetic appeal of thermoform packaging products are widely used by packaged food producers. Additionally, convenience features and ability of thermoformed products to offer high shelf life to food products makes them an ideal material in demanding applications.

Rising middle-class income and rising preference for convenience are the major factor that have led to growing demand for thermoform packaging in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical sector. Ease of use, extended shelf life, and extended adaptability are the benefits offered by thermoform packaging to food and beverage sector. While, excellent versatility, supremely reliability, and transparency of thermoformed blister products is gaining traction in the pharmaceutical sector. These factors are expected to drive demand for thermoform packaging market in the near future.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) to Continue its Dominance

Based on material type, the PET holds major share of the global market, owing to competitive cost, low greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), transparency, and excellent recyclability favor PET over other material types. Additionally, PET have the ability to survive mechanical loads, external abrasion and changing environmental conditions including temperature and pressure, making it an ideal choice for thermoform packaging. Poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) is expected to witness the fastest gains in the forecast period due to its excellent oxygen barrier characteristics, shatter resistance, and has economic advantage over its counterparts. PVC / PE material is largely used for meat trays, and CPET/APET for meat trays and ready meals. Other key materials used for thermoform packaging include:

  • HIPS (High-Impact Polystyrene) - This material is rather inexpensive. It also forms readily and comes in a variety of colours. It has a higher brittleness than some other materials, such as ABS.
  • PC (Polycarbonate) - This material is extremely impact resistant. It is transparent and resistant to high temperatures.
  • PP (Polypropylene) - This material is chemically resistant. It is rigid and has a high impact resistance. It performs well at higher temperatures, although it is not as dimensionally stable as other materials.
  • RPET (Reprocessed Polyethylene Terephthalate) - This is a common food packaging material. It is simple and inexpensive. If necessary, FDA certification can be obtained.
  • TPO (Thermoplastic PolyOlefin) - This material offers excellent impact resistance. It also comes in a high-gloss finish. It's suitable for use outside. It is, however, difficult to shape, especially for applications that require deep draw shapes.

Oher materials that are used are mono material sheets, which are typically selected for non-demanding applications. This is a sheet with only one type of material. A multi-layer sheet is employed in more demanding applications. Different materials are fed into the extrusion die using multi-head extruders. Heat-sealed applications can be made with multilayer sheeting with a heat compliant top layer.

Clamshell Packaging to Witness Robust Growth During the Forecast Period

Clamshell product category is likely to expand at a high from 2021 to 2025. High aesthetics appeal, ease of use, and versatility of clamshells is expected to boost its demand in the food & beverage industry. These packages are made from clear PET or PVC material thereby making easy for customers to view the inside product.

Blisters are the most different kinds of thermoform packaging material which are extensively used in pharmaceutical, personal care, and electronics applications as it offers high integrity and offer extended shelf life to the product. Rising demand for compliance with safety regulations and flexibility is expected to contribute toward the growth of blisters in the global thermoform packaging market.

Thermoform packaging trays are packaging trays made from durable low-cost materials such as PVC, PETG, and Styrene. The thermoform trays include cavities sized to fit the component part which is being packaged. Common applications include electronics, medical, and general manufacturing. Further, thermoformed lids & covers are also used to effectively package, protect, and display a wide range of items and foods.

North America to Dominate the Global Thermoform Packaging Market

Based on regions, North America is expected to dominate the global thermoform packaging market, while Asia Pacific region to witness high growth in next few years. Dominance of majority key players in North America including Anchor Packaging Inc., Sonoco Products Company, D&W Fine Pack, etc., as well as extensive research & development activities foster the consumption of thermoformed packaging across the region.

Increased urbanization, rising middle class population and disposable income, and increased need for packed food products across countries including India, China, Japan, and amongst others is expected to drive demand for thermoformed based products. Furthermore, greying population across the region is expected to increase need for blister-based thermoformed packaging products in foreseeable future.

Companies on Strategic Alliances to Gain Competitive Advantage

Some of the key players operating in the thermoform packaging market includes Amcor PLC, Sonoco Products Company, Placon Corp., Neven-Lemmens Plastics NV, Display Pack, Inc., Pactiv LLC, Dart Container Corp., Constantia, Tray-Pak Corp., D&W Fine Pack, Lacerta Group, Inc., RPC Group Plc, Silgan Holdings, Inc., Sinclair & Rush, Inc., Rompa Group, and among others.

New product launch and merger & acquisition are the common strategies adopted by the key players in global thermoform packaging market. For instance, in January, 2020, Sonoco Products Company, a global packaging firm, completed the acquisition of Thermoform Engineered Quality, LLC, and Plastique Holdings, LTD, (combinedly known as TEQ). SONOCO TEQ will operate as the global producer of thermoformed packaging products for healthcare, medical and consumer sectors.

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