Plastics have been a part of packaging industry for long. Features including light weight, low cost, durability, easy to handle, and intrinsic properties such as chemical and moisture resistance are the factors that makes plastic the go-to packaging material in most cases. Recently the market has witnessed a shift towards the use of flexible plastics from rigid plastics as the amount of plastic used is reduced, and offers better sustainable advantages such as less waste, and less carbon emissions.
Convenient and affordable packaging is the major preference for consumers which in turn has resulted is driving the market towards flexible packaging.
In addition, increase in number of dual-income households, rapid lifestyle changes, expanding retail, and growing popularity of home delivery services attribute to growing demand of flexible packaging.
Growth in e-commerce will stimulate growth in packaging market. This in turn has boosted the demand for packaging materials used in the delivery of products.
In terms of market participation, tier 1 companies including Amcor, Berry, Huhtamaki, and Mondi, occupied a share of around 15%-20% thus dominating the market. On the other hand, Tier 2 companies occupied a share of 25%-35%, followed by Tier 3 companies with a share of 45%-60%. Moreover, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies have adopted strategies like partnerships and acquisition to expand their customer base and create a global presence of the company. Asia-Pacific (APAC) is expected to witness the highest growth rate of 3.6% from 2018 to 2023 owing to the increasing number of dual income households.
Key market participants are partnering with technology companies to come up with efficient flexible packaging solutions that offer superior barrier properties and are sustainable.
Although, flexible plastic is the best packaging material in terms of weight, cost, and efficiency, product innovations to tackle the increasing pollution levels due to the use of plastic is critical. The plastics which reach the ocean get further broken down into micro plastics which are consumed by marine animals thus posing a threat to their life and existence. Moreover, this plastic litter can also impact the human health moving up the food chain. This in turn has put pressure on the companies and manufacturers to find viable solutions to this problem either by improving the recycling rate or focusing on producing alternative which could replace plastics.
Hence, market participants such as Mondi, Huhtamaki, and Amcor are leveraging plastic technologies to develop recycle-friendly and sustainable flexible packaging.