Entry into the global market for flexible packaging is not very tough and hence it is choc-o-bloc with big and small players. This also makes the landscape highly competitive. In order to thrive in such a cutthroat environment, players are seen taking both the organic route of product development and the inorganic route of mergers and acquisitions. A recent market study by Transparency Market Research finds that North America and Europe have emerged as nerve centers for such deal making relating to buyouts and mergers.
The report projects the overall global market for flexible packaging market to attain a value of US$358.7 bn by 2024-end from US$238.5 bn in 2016 by registering a CAGR of 5.2% CAGR between 2016 and 2024.
What are the various innovative products serving to drive the market?
Fuelling the market for flexible packaging is the constant thrust on innovation in the domain of packaging materials and technologies. This has resulted in an array of products in the market to suit different needs such as the high barrier films made leveraging nanotechnology, anti-bacterial films meant for perishable products such as milk, and bio-degradable pouches that pose little danger to the environment. As a result, the application areas too have expanded to include an array of consumer goods, food and beverages, and the pharmaceuticals.
Overall, some of the noteworthy USPs of flexible packaging are their light weight, ability to increase shelf life of perishable products, effective bulwarking against foreign adulterations, and easy identification of tampering on the packaging.
Some of the flexible packaging available in the market are stand-up pouches, retort pouches, vacuum pouches, converted roll stock, wicketed bag, gusseted bags, laminated tubes, and squeezable bottles. The segment of stand-up pouches among them currently holds a leading share in the market because of their ability to store myriad products and prolong the life of fluid products, and also because they are suited for flexographic printing.
What is the main challenge facing the market and how are manufacturers trying to overcome it?
Serving to dampen growth in the global market for flexible packaging, on the other hand, is the problem of recyclability. This is mainly on account of the multiple layers of different materials used in flexible packaging. A case in point is that of metal and plastics which are often placed one above the other. As regulations pertaining to environment protection becomes stricter, usage of such packaging materials may be limited or disallowed.
However, many savvy players are coming up with eco-friendly biodegradable packaging materials to overcome such challenges.
Which are the key regional segments in the market?
Europe is a key region in the global market for flexible packaging that is expected to pull in a revenue of US$117.7 bn by 2024-end. North America is another key market that is generating healthy revenues annually. Going forward, however, Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as the most attractive market on the back of a booming demand for consumer goods in the region – result of the economic prosperity of numerous nations. The region is also benefitting from the presence of many multinational and emerging players domiciled in it. Take for example Uflex, a multinational flexible packaging specialist based out of India that is developing resource optimized packaging solutions for many of staple foods produced in locally, namely sugar, pulses, wheat flour, salt and oil, etc.
Prominent participants in the market for flexible packaging are Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Wentus, Amcor Limited, and The Dow Chemical Company.