This research report on the global flexible packaging market covers market sizing and forecast, share, industry trends, growth drivers, and vendor analysis. The study includes insights on segmentation by materials (flexible plastic, flexible paper, and foil), products (bags and sacks, pouches, and others), printing (flexographic and rotogravure, and others), application (consumer and industrial), end-user (F&B, healthcare, personal care, pet food, and others), and geography (APAC, Europe, North America, Latin America, and MEA).
The application of high barrier films to pack premium food products is a major driver
The increase in processed and packaged food consumption is one of the major driving factors in the global flexible packaging market. Flexible packaging solutions meet all the requirements of food manufacturers and consequently has been adopted widely by the packaged food industry. The global increase in disposable income and the growing population have been increasing the consumption of packaged and processed food products.
Further, the market growth is linked to the performance of the economy in general, and hence, it is necessary for vendors to diversify or expand the scope/scale of operations to negate recessionary trends in certain regions. The market is highly fragmented with the presence of many large vendors operating on a global scale and regional or country-specific vendors catering to their respective regions.
The increasing pressure on food and beverages, consumer goods, and pharmaceutical companies to reduce dependency on plastic is driving vendors to adopt sustainable practices. Sustainability as a practice focuses on recovering plastic products and recycling them.
The use of flexible packaging has expanded as this type of packaging is environment-friendly. The cost of raw materials, low production expenditure, lightweight nature, which, in turn, reduces the transportation cost, are the major driving factors for the growth of the market. Developing countries with low per capita offer increased business opportunities for packaging vendors. The global flexible packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 3% during the period 2018–2024.
This research report includes detailed segmentation by material, product, printing, application, end-users, and geography.
Market by Material Type
The increasing application of four-sided sealed pouches for packing meat, poultry, and seafood is expected to witness the highest growth rate
The food industry, which constitutes a share of more than 60%, is the major demand contributor for flexible plastic pouches. Pharmaceuticals and beverage industries are the other major application areas of flexible plastic pouches. Plastic pouches have gained prominence due to their ability to extend the shelf life of food products.
Flexible paper packaging has wider applications in the healthcare sector, tobacco packing, and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Pouches and wraps constitute the highest share in the market. The application of paper wraps in the foodservice industry is growing at an annual rate of 7%, which is driven by the demand from the dry and pet foods.
APAC is currently the largest producer of aluminum foils. China is the leading producer and consumer of aluminum foil. As several vendors are based out of the US, the demand is high in the North American region.
Market by Application
The use of recycling packaging content will be a new unique selling point in Europe and North America
The consumer segment is growing moderately on account of increased consumption of ready to eat food and per capita incomes. The market in emerging economies is expected to fetch three-times more revenue than developed economies. The use of recycling content will be a new unique selling point in Europe and North America.
The industrial segment is driven by bulk demand from several end-users. Chemicals and pharmaceutical industries account for more than 40% of the industrial packaging applications.
Market by End-users
Modified atmosphere and vacuum packaging are currently used for the packing of meat, poultry, and seafood in the food industry
The food & beverage (F&B) industry dominates the global market. The need to increase shelf life of food items and eatables is one of the major factors for the adoption in the F&B industry. Furthermore, the rise of nuclear families, the shift from urban to rural areas and increased household incomes are pushing the growth. The application of modified atmospheric packaging technology is adopted in the bakery, thereby increasing the demand for packing bakery and confectionery products.
The presence of child-resistance packing, senior-friendly functionalities, and other push through the feature of blister packaging is increasing the demand from pharmaceutical companies. Also, smaller pack sizes such as mini packs and/or micro packs are gaining traction as they provide ample scope for brands to experiment for new products. Also, the demand for bioplastic packing is expected to gain momentum as plastic is detrimental to the environment. The introduction of new processing technologies is being adopted for pet foods - cold-pressed, freeze-dried, air-dried and frozen. These products require materials which are not only flexible but also offer robust protection.
Market by Products
The increasing automation of the food processing industry in developing countries is driving the pouch segment
The growth of the segment is largely driven by retail carry bags, storage bags, bread bags, diaper bags, sacks and produce bags. The segment is influenced by monolayer PE films as they do not require advanced machinery.
The increasing automation of the food processing industry in India, China, and Middle East countries is driving the pouch segment. Further, the replacement of traditional machinery with advanced technology equipment will contribute to the segment growth.
Films, wraps, and flexible lidding constitute the other segment. The market share of lidding is declining as aluminum foils are high-cost material and are being replaced by advanced plastic films.
Market by Printing Type
The versatility of flexo press along with the low operational cost is the major reason for increased adoption of flexographic printing
While flexographic printing is most widely adopted in North America and South America, rotogravure printing has a significant share in the APAC region. Factors such as low labor costs, low press footprint, and less energy requirements are the key factors for a high market share of flexographic printing.
Rotogravure printing is extensively used for printing packaging of items such as polythene packs, soap wrappers, bread wrappers, milk pouches, and other materials.
Flexible Packaging Market: Geography
The highly developed retail scenario in Europe is pushing the flexible printing market to adopt better print technology
The demand from food, pharmaceuticals, and industrial secondary/tertiary packaging is expected to push the APAC market. Japan is expected to provide high growth opportunities, due to the increased demand for packed food from the elderly population (above 65 years). Also, China, India, and other southeast Asian countries are emerging as growth drivers for the APAC region.
The expansion in supermarkets has led to the increased demand for shelf-ready packaging, thus driving the shrink packaging in Europe. The highly developed retail scenario in the region is pushing the market to adopt better print technology and opt easy open and closure portions in flexible pouches.
The demand from F&B, pharmaceutical, personal care, and industrial application are expected to lead the flexible packaging market in North America. Factors such as increased consumer spending, high frequency of eating outlets, growth in the retail industry growth, and better household incomes are the factors that are likely to open new growth avenues. Increased per capita incomes and the expansion of the retail sector are likely to drive the market in South America and MEA. The flexible packaging industry in Latin America is expected to witness high growth during the forecast period due to the large middle-class population with high disposable incomes.
Key Profiled Countries
Key Vendor Analysis
The market has very few vendors who have breached the $1 billion in revenue. Small and medium-scale enterprises dominate the market. Larger players have been aggressively adopting inorganic growth strategy to expand their operations in many regions. Key players’ technological strength and high-volume product lines have helped offset cost variations. Small companies’ focus has been on customization, as the competition is mainly on two aspect - features and price. The niche segment, which does not have large volumes is largely dependent on smaller companies. Many new companies have sprung up in APAC as the e-commerce industry has increased the demand for protective packaging. Stretch films, protective wraps, and pouches have witnessed high demand in the last few years. The key competitive factors in the industry include – price, quality, adherence to newly evolving regulations, distribution network, and R&D investments.
Other prominent vendors are Constantia Flexibles, Printpack, International Paper, Uflex, Smurfit Kappa, ProAmpac, Reynolds Group, Novolex, Bischof + Klein, Sigma Plastics, Glenroy, Winpak, RPC Group, Greif, Stora Enso, Innovia Films, Global-Pak, American Packaging Corp., and WestRock.
Key Market Insights
The report provides the following insights into the global market for the forecast period 2019–2024.
Get the updated report free if published within 100 days of purchase
Free datasheet worth $1500 with team and corporate license.
10% free customization. Speak to our analyst