Top five packaging trends for 2015

The five trends that will impact packaging and associated industries in 2015 are: the growing importance of sustainability; the demand for supply chain transparency; the rise of new barrier/coating packaging technologies; the continued emphasis on lightweight packaging; and the importance of delivering frustration-free packaging.

The growing importance of sustainability

Because sustainable packaging is now prompting consumers purchasing preferences, sustainable packaging has significant environmental and business implications for companies. Businesses should be proactive in implementing procedures that advance a product’s packaging sustainability; if not, they risk the possibility of losing customers to competitor brands that are prioritizing sustainability in their packaging.

The demand for supply chain transparency
Supply chain transparency is an important area companies must focus on to avoid potentially costly environmental and legal infractions that could damage a company’s reputation and overall relationships with consumers. Businesses should address how they are implementing supply chain traceability in terms of sourcing, manufacturing, transport and end of life cycle.

The rise of new barrier/coating technologies
According to a Smithers Pira report, paper and corrugate are going to see tremendous growth in the next several years. The focus will be on developing new barrier technologies that are renewably sourced, readily recyclable and/or biodegradable.

Source: Greener Packaging

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North America flexible packaging market estimated to outgrow Europe

The North American and European flexible packaging markets at US $20.7 billion and US $16.4 billion, together account for approaching half of the global consumer flexible packaging market of around $76 billion in 2013. However, recent research by PCI shows that growth in North America at around 4% p.a. by value is currently twice as fast as that experienced in the last year in Europe.

Experts at PCI Films Consulting believe that this situation is likely to endure even while the annual spend per capita is much higher in North America, than in Europe. While demand in Eastern Europe continues to grow by over 5% p.a. in value terms, underpinned by strong growth in Russia and Poland, growth in the more mature Western Europe is currently running at less than 1.5% p.a.

There are a number of reasons for the divergent growth prospects for North America and Europe:

  • While some West European countries are seeing some economic growth, especially Germany and the UK, many other economies, especially in the Eurozone are still suffering low or negative growth which is adversely impacting on employment and consumer spending.
  • In Eastern Europe, which currently accounts for less than 20% of Europe’s overall flexible packaging demand, a number of smaller national markets are either static or actually declining as they continue to face difficult economic problems. Per capita spend on flexible packaging in Eastern Europe is currently less than one-third of Western Europe’s.
  • Europe’s population growth rate of only 0.2% p.a. compares with approaching 1% p.a. in North America, which provides the latter with a continuing inbuilt boost to food consumption which is again reflected in demand for flexible packaging. Populations in a number of large European countries, especially Germany and Russia are declining.
  • Lifestyle variations and differing consumer buying habits across Europe mean that some countries, such as Italy, spend less per capita on pre-packaged foods than Germany and the UK for example. In North America, especially in the US and Canada, incomes are generally higher than in Europe and consumer buying habits are more uniform.
  • More rapid growth in flexible packaging in North America also reflects the fact that flexible packaging formats, including the stand-up-pouch, are growing rapidly in new applications which have been previously the preserve of rigid formats. In the past North American consumers have been more conservative with regard to the adoption of new flexible packaging formats than their European counterparts and packers have often been reluctant to replace existing rigid filling capacity with new flexible packaging alternatives. However, this is now changing, as consumers recognize the lightweight portability and convenience particularly of single serve flexible formats with easy-open reclose features and also the environmental advantages of flexibles.
  • Evolving technical advances especially in the development of sophisticated barrier materials have seen flexible packaging becoming an increasingly attractive and viable alternative to rigid formats, which are now being adopted much more widely by North American packers.

Source: Plastics Today

Food Manufacturers Rethink Flexible Packaging

Processors are rethinking and improving existing products and make new ones possible thanks to advances in pouch packaging. Flexible packaging suppliers focus on the sustainable end of life scenarios for pouch packaging, bags and film wrappers due to the plethora of green benefits. Unfortunately one area where most flexible packaging is not green is recyclability.  The flexible packaging industry is working on a solution for this problem. One solution is the recyclable 100% polyethylene stand up pouch developed by Dow Chemical. Recyclable pouches can be recycled through bag and film recycling programs. These recycle programs require the end user to bring the clean, empty packaging back to a retail store.

To read more click on the link below.

Source: Food Processing

Top 25 impacts on flexible packaging supply chain

Smithers Pira has released a report listing the trends that will influence flexible packaging over the next ten years. The report ‘Ten Year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Flexible Packaging to 2023’ explores technological, economic, consumer, sociological, environmental and regulatory changes. The report also lists the top 25 developments. The focus of the report is food and beverage packaging, but pharmaceutical and household chemical applications are also included

According to Chandra Leister, Marketing and Production Manager at Smithers Pira, the top five disruptive technologies in flexible packaging are forecast to be intelligent packaging, recyclability, packaging openability, biobased polymers and digital printing. The report claims there will be continuous development of new flexible packaging products for new markets and applications encroaching on traditional rigid packaging. High growth is expected in Europe and North America, as well as in the emerging markets of Asia and Central and South America.

The report states that smart packaging will be the key disruptive factor affecting the flexible packaging industry due to high cost, consumer resistance to items such as sachets in packaging and concerns about excessive packaging. Though, intelligent packaging is expected to decrease cost, increase emphasis on food safety, anti-counterfeiting, new regulations and brand owner/consumer demand. This will lead to radically new views on the function of packaging to include monitoring, tracking, warning, remediation, authentication, communication and brand protection.

The report states the second most disruptive technology is recyclability. Because of the small amount of material used in a flexible package, it produces much less waste than other formats. However, it is not currently feasible to mechanically recycle postconsumer flexible packaging because of its thin film structure, multi-layered composition and often contamination by food waste. This situation could create problems with the sustainability and recyclability goals of many major corporations or with the reduced or zero landfill policies of many governments. More easily recyclable materials and barrier structures, including monolayers, are expected to be introduced over the next 10 years, but this will not resolve the problem unless improved collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure is implemented.

Source: Smithers Pira

A Holistic Approach to Packaging

As flexible packaging is becoming more popular suppliers must know the right credentials when it comes to the sustainable disposal or recycling of materials. Ensuring waste is correctly disposed of reduces a supplier’s carbon footprint and improves warehouse efficiencies. The importance of sustainable waste disposal cannot be underestimated – closed loop recycling processes are just one way of addressing this.

Closed loop recycling processes work by ensuring all disposed packaging in the warehouse is recycled in-house and then cultivated back into the business for use. Closed loop recycling processes significantly reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill. The demand on businesses to incorporate processes that drive real reductions in energy and waste is greater than ever before. Closed-loop systems can therefore go a long way towards meeting this requirement. One of the packaging methods that is coming to the forefront is the bag and tote system, where products are packed and placed in a tote bag then returned by the customer for re-use.

In regards to the carbon footprint of a supplier, good organization and customer convenience should be at the core of initiatives that cut down the amount of packaging used per customer – especially where the customer has numerous individual orders. Warehouse layout should allow these orders to be combined to cut down wastage and reinforce a one-stop-shop status in the process. Sustainable measures such as these can also help drive more efficient ways of working.

Source: Packaging Europe

Plastic is the sustainable packaging choice according to new study

According to a new study titled Impact of Plastics Packaging on Life Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States and Canada by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, six major categories of plastic packaging significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to packaging made with alternative materials. Using 2010 as a baseline year, the data shows replacing plastic packaging with alternative materials would result in 4.5 times more packaging weight, an 80% increase in energy use and 130% more global warming potential.

The study examines the six major packaging resins (low density polyethylene, high density PE, polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene, expanded PS, PET) against paper, glass, steel, aluminum, textiles, rubber and cork. The study considers the implications of the materials used in caps and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other flexible packaging in a detailed life cycle assessment.

“The benefits hold up across a range of different kinds of applications and materials,” said Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for ACC. “Because plastics use so much less material in the first place it results in dramatic greenhouse gas reduction, and that’s just the start. It really adds up across the different types of packaging, to the equivalent of taking more than15 million cars off the road.”

Source: Plastics News

Consumer Trends Shaking up the Packaging Industry

Here are the current consumer packaging trends you need to know about to maximize the potential of your product’s packaging.


Consumers are busy and are looking for packaging that is easy to use and take on the go. Smaller, lighter weight and easily disposed packaging make consumption on the go easier.


Consumers today are more aware of global environmental issues and are changing their purchasing habits to be eco-friendlier. An example of this would be consumers seeking out packaging with semiotic signs to support green manufacturers.

Cost-effective shopping

There is a rising trend in consumers making purchases when they are running out of a product, rather than buying product in bulk, which had been the norm. Packaging that is smaller and easier to carry is ideal for these shoppers.

Healthy & Wellness

The health and wellness market is thriving. Consumers expect the packaging to clearly list the health credentials of the product, so consumers can quickly make an informed decision. Packaging should focus on unique benefits, such as natural ingredients. Innovative methods of displaying and preserving fresh food will be key for short term and long term success.

Authenticity and Trust

As a consequence of the numerous global food scandals, such as the discovery of horsemeat in beef burgers in Europe, pink slime in the U.S. and tainted milk in China, consumers are demanding transparency from food manufacturers. Product origins need to be traceable back to the supplier.

To read more, click the link below


Sustainable packaging market to hit $244 billion by 2018

According to a Smithers Para report, consumer demand, advances in material technology and legislation will push sustainable packaging to a $244 billion market by 2018.

The “Future of Sustainable Packaging to 2018” report found awareness among consumers is driving demand for sustainability, particularly packaging that has a smaller environmental footprint.

Sustainability programs are increasingly seen as a source of innovation that can serve as a platform for new product and market development, the report says.

The report also forecasts that downsizing or light-weighting, increased recycling and waste recovery, increased use of recycled content, improvement in packaging and logistical efficiency and increased use of renewable-sourced materials are the five most common trends in sustainable packaging.

The increasing demand for sustainable packaging is particularly evident in countries like China and India. ‘The biggest growth comes from the Asian market,’ says Smithers Pira, forecasting that this will account for 32% of green packaging consumption owing to ‘a growing affluent and health-conscious middle-class population’.

The increased focus on sustainability will continue to be a major trend in the packaging industry, which supports the adoption of materials from renewable sources.

Source: Environmental Leader

Three ways to improve sustainability metrics while also saving money

If you are interested in increasing your sustainability metrics and lowering your costs without changing the appearance of your packaging keep reading. Below are three idea of how to do just that.

Sustainable Calcium Carbonate Additives

Add a small percentage of calcium carbonate into your plastic packaging. Recently it has been discovered that CC is produced naturally in some bodies of water. The natural formation process has an added benefit of sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere through a photosynthesis process. The cost for the natural CC additives is lower than resin.

Bio-Based Thermoplastics

Some resin manufacturers generate bio-based thermoplastics that come from ethanol made from corn, sugar beets or sugar cane. Bio-based thermoplastics provide a positive impact on CO2 emissions because they are produced from plant based CO2 feedstocks. The price of bio-based thermoplastics is more stable compared to petroleum based equivalents.

Biodegradable/Compostable Packaging

Resin packaging can take months to hundreds of years to decompose in the landfill. One technology to make the packaging compostable is to use a polylactic acid bioplastic; PLA based packaging is usually made from the renewable resource, corn starch. Another technology is to use an oxo-degradable plastic additive. The additives are metal salts that function as a catalyst to speed up the decomposition process. The last technology is using biodegradable plastic additives. When placed in a physically active landfill these additives increase the rate of decomposition.

Source: Packaging Digest

Packaging expectations for 2014

There are six developments expected to take place in 2014.

Flexibles rule– Data suggests that this is the year flexible packaging will become the primary packaging choice for food, personal care and pharmaceutical products. It’s estimated that Americans will be using (32.85 billion) more rigid plastic and flexible packs in 2017 than in 2012. Flexible packaging is the fastest growing segment in the United States packaging industry.

Retail ready packaging advancement– The move out of peg-displayed pillow pouches by cheese shredders will transform supermarket dairy cases into a more European (i.e., “pegless”) model.

Fewer one trick ponies– There will be a development in more interactive packages. Some of the developments include time/temperature indicators, regimen-compliance indicators, near field communications (NFC) and freshness/efficacy monitors.

Biopolymer packaging– Expect economics and performance shortfalls vs. petrochemical polymers to slow the advance of bio-derived polymers for packaging. Don’t expect packaging for bio-derived polymers until around 2020.

Leveraging technology– Five years ago a group of scientists and US regulators met to discuss nanotechnology and the packaging health and safety implications of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) that are minuscule enough to migrate through barrier membranes that couldn’t be penetrated by larger materials. Nanomaterial applications have quietly expanded since then. This year we could see nanomaterials replacing foil in the classic paper/poly/foil structure to improve recycling and sustainability.

Beefing up for e-commerce and m-commerce- The explosive growth of consumer online and mobile transactions is going to trigger a surge of protective packaging to meet the more demanding, higher package-to-product ratio needs of single items traveling by USPS or carrier vs. conventional pallet load transport packaging of goods to brick and mortar retailers.

Source: Packaging World