The global flexible packaging market is forecast to grow from $127.1 billion in 2009 to $137.5 billion in 2014, according to a new study by Pira International.
Flexible packaging has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the packaging market over the past decade. Flexible packaging substrates provide opportunities to reduce materials, lower package weight and cut costs. Properties of flexible packaging can be easily tailored to meet demanding specifications for a wide range of products. Over the years, the flexible packaging market has developed from simple paper wrapping and bags to very sophisticated multilayer and multimaterial packaging for barrier protection and shelf-life extension.
Flexible packaging films can be made of single-web substrates such as flexible plastics (PE, PP, polyester or PA), flexible foils and flexible papers or can be coated, laminated or coextruded with other materials to enhance their physical properties in various ways.
According to the study the flexible packaging market also faces key challenges during 2009-14, not least the impact of the global recession on demand for packaged products. Other key market drivers and trends identified for flexible packaging include:
- Biodegradable, sustainable and recyclable flexible packaging materials gaining favour as retailers and brand owners seek to improve the environmental footprint of their packaging.
- Flexible packaging films and bags being continually downgauged to reduce costs and minimise waste after use.
- Public concern about excessive packaging gaining ground in many developed countries.
- Flexible packaging products such as SUPs replacing bottles and other traditional pack types for a range of food and beverage products.
- Flexible barrier films that preserve product freshness gaining market share.