The Rise of Flexible Packaging in the Food Market

Innovative flexible packaging is on the rise in the food industry. According to Canadean’s estimation, by 2018 about 786,095 million units of flexible packaging will be consumed within the global retail food markets. This amount accounts for more than 53% of the food packaging market.


The global demand for pouches has increased in the food market; this is estimated to grow by 2489 million pack units between 2014-2017. A significant increase from previous years.


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Source: Food Processing

Is 100% recyclable flexible packaging possible?

According to the Flexible Packaging Association, flexible packaging accounts for 18% of the $145 billion American packaging market. Currently there is no closed loop system to handle recycling flexible packaging constructed of multi-layer high-barrier films. Recycling multi-layered flexible packaging involves more steps than recycling traditional packaging; each layer must be separated, analyzed, identified and recycled individually.

Some manufacturers are implementing the cradle to cradle concept by using eco-friendly material that biodegrades, biodegradable bio-based plastics or techno-friendly materials that can be recycled without being altered.

Currently the best solution for multi-layered packaging waste is pyrolysis, as there is no adequate solution to recycle plastic components into other plastic materials. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (or any halogen). It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible. Research still needs to be done to develop a way to convert the carbon liquid fuel into an energy source.

Source: Packaging Digest

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The Future is Flexible

Waste reduction, resource efficiency, sustainability and convenience: all reasons behind the growth in flexible packaging. Flexible packaging has entered a new era, one where more resources are saved, and food waste is reduced. Less efficient materials are being replaced, for example, the transportation of beverages in glass bottles versus pouch style. This meant that 47% of beverage was being transported while 52% was packaging. While pouches the ratio was 93% beverage and 6% pouch. The product still performs, sometimes more efficiently, and has a lower environmental impact. FPE is looking to reinforce the message that there is a more environmental sustainable alternative, and it is looking to make the whole supply chain more sustainable.

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Source: Packaging Today

Light weight, big opportunity

Rigid plastics are one of the main opportunities where a company can be more sustainable without sacrificing quality or lean manufacturing, says Clint Filipowicz, SC Johnson’s senior director – regional manufacturing operations Europe, Middle East and Africa. By 2017, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive will require 57% of plastic packaging to be recovered and recycled.

In today’s environmentally conscious world there is an rising focus on ‘sustainable’ packaging.  Consumers and manufacturers are seeking packaging that is perceived to have minimal impact on the environment, according to Katherine Fleet, sustainability manager at the RPC Group. “Plastics packaging has generally had a poor reputation as a sustainable packaging material, yet it is lightweight and low carbon” she says. “It helps prevent food waste by protecting produce from ‘plot to plate’ and extending shelf life. Plastic is also very recyclable. “This last point is important since for many consumers, sustainability is predominantly about recycling or the incorporation of recycled material.”

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Source: Packaging Today

Slow progress in flexibles

Declining demand in a number of national markets, principally France and Italy, and the continuing lack of significant inflationary pressures, are the main factors behind growth in Europe’s flexible packaging market slowing to 1.3% in both value and volume terms in 2013, down from 2.1% and 1.8% respectively in 2012. This is one of the main conclusions from PCI’s latest annual report on the €12.3 billion European converted flexible packaging market with growth expected to pick up only slightly in 2014. Report author Paul Gaster, also notes, “The growth slowdown reflects the fact that a number of economies in the Eurozone are still struggling with the effects of recession, which has reduced demand for packaged foods in these countries”.

As in previous years, there were some significant regional and national differences in value and volume demand trends. Sales in Germany, Europe’s largest flexible packaging market, continued to see some modest growth, as to a lesser extent did the UK. However, demand in Italy, Greece and Portugal continued to contract, with negative growth seen in France for the first time since 2009. Demand was most buoyant in some emerging markets in Eastern Europe, notably Russia and Poland, which grew at over four times the European average. Sales growth in Turkey, a major emerging market, while still strong relative to the European average, fell back compared with the previous year.

Compared with the metal can, glass and paperboard packaging industries, Europe’s flexible packaging industry continues to be highly fragmented with the top 20 players accounting for around 70% of the market. However, on-going consolidation continues to be steadily changing the structure of the industry, mostly with the backing of private equity finance. Major developments include the emergence of Sun Capital portfolio business Coveris as a top 10 player, and the rapid growth via acquisition of Schur Flexibles. Approaching 20% of the industry’s sales in Europe is currently generated by private equity portfolio companies.

Now in its 14th edition, PCI Films Consulting’s “The European Flexible Packaging Market” has become a valuable tool in driving business planning, investment and future product developments. Based on original field research, it is the most recent and comprehensive report available on the European market, providing over 400 pages of historical data and highly detailed market analysis and statistics for 2013, estimates for 2014 and forecasts through to 2018.

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Source: Plastics in Packaging

Growth and fragmentation in flexibles gives brands food for thought

Flexible packaging is finding new applications for consumers, currently pouches and other flexibles are involved in snacking from adults to toddlers. They are finding a wide range of products to target every consumer. Flexible packaging is offering unique shapes, functions, and convenience. Quite literally, this form of packaging is presenting its self as flexible for the needs of many industries. The flexible packaging industry is not pigeon holing either, the genius of the product is that it is flexible for those looking to convert, and those who are looking to be innovative and differentiate their product.

Between 2012 and 2013, the use of pouches for snacks grew 7%, the use of pouches for sauces and seasonings saw growth of 20%. Over the past decade, pouches have become quite the competition for traditional rigid packaging and has been embraced by U.S. consumers for the ease of use and accessibility. Going forward, we can count of seeing innovative designs, convenient uses, and easy storing.

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Source: Packaging Digest