Flexible Plastic Packaging Market Overview
The global flexible plastic packaging market size is forecast to reach US$172.3 billion in 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 4.3% during 2022-2027. Polyethylene is dominating the market owing to its superior properties like high chemical resistance, inexpensiveness, and durability. Other raw materials in the target market like polyethylene terephthalate and polystyrene will witness significant demand in the coming years. Food segment is poised to augment the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast period owing to an increase in ordering FMCG, daily staples, and fresh foods through online, growing demand for consumption of packaged food and improving global economy. Pouches will witness massive demand in the target market owing to the increasing demand for convenient and lightweight packaging solutions. Wicketed bags and plastic films will also witness significant demand for flexible plastic packaging solutions in the forthcoming years. The market might face some challenges in the form of strict regulations against the use of plastic which might affect the growth of the market in the forecast period.
The flexible plastic packaging market faced severe challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems like supply chain disruption, factory shutdown were there in the initial part of the pandemic due to strict lockdown restrictions globally. However, the market witnessed a decent demand in the flexible plastic packaging growth owing to increased transactions of online food and grocery shopping. Furthermore, the demand for packaged food, consumer beverages also grew during the pandemic which kept the target market afloat. Manufacturers took necessary precautions to meet the packaging solution demand. US based company ProAmpac, which deals with flexible plastic packaging, kept all its sites operational to provide and maintain its customer’s needs on an on-time basis. The company, in its response to the COVID-19 document, mentioned that the company ensured the availability of its products with less disturbance and help address the packaging needs amid the pandemic. Going forward, the flexible plastic packaging market is projected to witness significant growth.
Flexible Plastic Packaging Market – By Raw Material
Polyethylene dominated the flexible plastic packaging market’s raw material segment in 2021. This raw material will witness huge demand in the flexible plastic packaging market in the forecast period. Factors like abundant availability of polyethylene, low products costs, and high chemical resistance are making it a desirable choice among the manufacturers in the target market. Furthermore, the presence of petroleum polymers makes polyethylene one of the most durable raw materials in the flexible plastic packaging market. Manufacturers globally are focusing on developing flexible plastic packaging based on polyethylene. For instance, global packaging company Amcor, which deals width flexible plastic packaging solutions, developed a new bio-based polymer packaging solution. This bio packaging solution involves film made up of polyethylene that contains 25 percent bio-based material. Amcor developed this packaging product along with Espoma Organic, which deals with lawn and garden-based products. Such development with the involvement of polyethylene will drive the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast period. Apart from polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polystyrene will witness decent demand in the target market in the forecast period.
Flexible Plastic Packaging Market – By Type
The pouch segment dominated the flexible plastic packaging market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 4.2% in the forecast period. The pouch segment is gaining traction owing to the increasing demand for lightweight and convenient packaging. Pouches are widely used in multiple applications food, beverages, personal care, pharmaceuticals, etc. The increasing demand for pouches can also be attributed to the scope of brand building, tailoring unique designs, and achieving a great finish. Manufacturers globally are inclining towards pouches owing their distinct qualities. In a recent development, UK based packaging company Mondi joined hands with Reckitt Benckiser, a UK based multinational consumer goods company, to develop a 100% recyclable plastic pouch in April 2020. This is a rigid pouch with smoothness and a high-end look. Mondi has been constantly amplifying its customer-centric flexible plastic packaging portfolio and plans to expand this premium line of products in the coming years. Such development in the flexible plastic packaging solutions with the incorporation of pouches will drive the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast periods. Apart from pouches, wicketed bags and plastic films are also witnessing robust demand in the flexible plastic packaging ecosystem which will contribute to the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the coming years.
Flexible Plastic Packaging Market – By Application
The food segment dominated the flexible plastic packaging market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 4.5% in the forecast period. An increase in food purchase through e-commerce retails, growth in fast food chains and increasing consumption of packaged food are some of the key factors driving the uses of flexible plastic packaging solutions in the market. The increased use of flexible plastic packaging solutions leads to higher utilization of popular raw materials such as polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, etc., which further expands the market. Due to the boost in these trends, manufacturers are also developing high-end packaging solutions suitable for the market. For instance, US based company DOW, which deals with the flexible packaging market, joined hands with Bollore, a France based plastic films company which deals with flexible plastic packaging, to develop recyclable food contact barrier shrink film. This is a pilot project on which both companies will work to strengthen food contact packaging applications in the flexible plastic packaging ecosystem. Such development related to food products and their protection will contribute to the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast year. The beverage sector is also gaining traction regarding the high uses of flexible plastic packaging solutions in the last few years, and this demand is projected to be there in the coming years which will contribute to the market’s growth.
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Flexible Plastic Packaging Market – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the flexible plastic packaging market in 2021 with a share of up to 30%. The rise in disposable income and fast-paced lifestyle of the consumers is augmenting the use of flexible plastic packaging in the target market. Furthermore, the growth in various sectors like food, beverage, healthcare, etc. is driving the demand for flexible plastic packaging solutions in the region. For instance, The World Bank has approved a loan amount of US$ 400 million to China for the China Food Safety Improvement Project. This project will help China to enhance food safety management that involves eco-friendly food packaging and plastics recycling. Such huge activity in the food sector will require a large amount of flexible plastic packaging solutions that involve pouches, wicketed bags, plastic films which will drive the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast period. Similarly, as per the data by Invest India, food grocery and food services segments in India are growing at a CAGR of 25% and 15% respectively. These two segments are dominating the Indian Food Retail Sector. Such growth in the food sector will incorporate higher flexible plastic packaging which will contribute to the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast year. The region in North America is projected to drive the market’s growth significantly in the forecast period owing to the increased consumption of packaged food and the busy lifestyle of people living in that region.
Flexible Plastic Packaging Market Drivers
Increasing demand for sustainability will drive the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth
Manufacturers globally are pledging to develop and engage only in the development of sustainable and bio based flexible plastic packaging solutions to make the planet a better place. With the increasing awareness about the toxicity of plastic, governments and manufacturers are stepping up and forming plans to accelerate the environmental sustainability process. For instance, US based company DOW, which is a market leader in flexible plastic packaging, has prepared a checklist for its 2050 sustainability goal. The company aims to reduce plastic waste by 2050 and increase global recycling of plastics by 2030. Dow plans to collect 1 million metric tons of plastics to recycle and reuse by 2030. Such planning and action towards sustainability will lead to the development of bio-based flexible plastic packaging solutions, ultimately contributing to the market’s growth in the forecast period.
Growing food sector will drive the market’s growth
The rising food sector will propel the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth in the forecast year. The pandemic amplified the food market with consumers stocking bulk foods and groceries, an increase in food ordering through online channels, and increase demand for packaged food. Higher food demand means to increase the use of flexible plastic packaging solutions made up of raw materials like polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, etc. Furthermore, high investment, increase in imports and exports, etc., are some of the other factors fueling the market’s growth. For instance, according to Invest India report, the export of dairy, poultry, and meat products from India jumped from $483.5 million during April-June 2020 to $1022.5 million in 2021 in the same period. Also, the Indian food sector received a foreign direct investment (FDI) of $4.18 billion between April 2014 to March 2020. These high export and investment growth rate will demand higher usage of flexible plastic packaging solutions, thereby driving the growth of the flexible plastic packaging market in the forecast period.
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Flexible Plastic Packaging Market Challenges
Lack of recycling infrastructure might hinder the market’s growth
The recycling process of plastic packaging waste requires high end infrastructure. It is a time-consuming process that needs to be conducted with the help of experts. While many parts of the world are well equipped in handling plastic packaging waste, still there are some places, which lack proper plastic packaging waste recycling infrastructure. The same has been reported in the 2021 report titled Addressing Single-Use Plastic Products Pollution by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The report highlights the necessity of having adequate recycling technologies in countries with under-developed waste-management systems. Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) also states, every year, around 330 million tons of plastic waste is produced. With the lack of proper plastic waste recyclability infrastructure, recycling becomes a major challenge in the flexible plastic packaging market which might hinder the growth of this market.
Flexible Plastic Packaging Market Industry Outlook
Investment in R&D activities, acquisitions, product and technology launches are key strategies adopted by players in the Flexible Plastic Packaging Market. Major players in the Flexible Plastic Packaging Market are:
4. Sealed Air Corporation
7. Berry Global
9. Sigma Plastics Group
In May 2020, Berry Global joined hands with Mondelez International to provide a recycled plastic packaging solution to Philadelphia which is a popular cream cheese brand. This packaging technology involves plastic material recovered with the help of advanced recycling technology from Berry’s collaboration with SABIC. Such developments will add to the growth of the flexible plastic packaging market in the forecast period.
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Polyethylene is leading the flexible plastic packaging market owing to its excellent qualities. It comes with properties like low production costs, high strength, and durability which make it a go-to raw material for manufacturers.
The food segment is projected to contribute hugely to the market’s growth in the forecast years. The increasing household income, growth of organized retail, and fast-paced lifestyle are propelling the flexible plastic packaging market’s growth. According to the latest data by Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, India’s food processing sector is projected to be over a half a trillion dollars market by 2025.
The Asia-Pacific region is dominating the target market owing to the increased consumption of packaged food, the huge volume of export in different parts of the world, and the fast-paced lifestyle. According to International Trade Association, China’s food and beverage (F&B) industry stood at $595 billion in 2019 which was a 7.8% jump compared to the previous year.
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