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Asia leads growth in flexible packaging market

The global consumer flexible packaging market is worth USD$58.3 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% to reach $71.3 billion by 2016, according to the latest research from Pira International.

A new study from Pira - The Future of Global Flexible Packaging to 2016 - shows how flexible packaging market growth has been driven by the replacement of traditional pack types such as metal cans, glass and plastic bottles, and liquid cartons across a wide range of end-use sectors.

The tonnage for the global consumer flexible packaging market is projected at 18.1 million in 2011 and is forecast to reach 22.5 million tonnes by 2016.

Flexible packaging has also benefited from a wider range of new products being developed by brand owners in an increasingly competitive consumer marketplace. Barrier flexible packaging will continue to grow in importance as the major retail chains demand greater product protection and longer shelf life. Pira expects higher-barrier plastics such as BOPET, EVOH and PA, to show the highest growth rates over the forecast period.

According to Adam Page, Head of Reports and Consultancy at Pira International: "Brand owners value flexible packaging for its versatility, comparative low cost and potential for innovation. It is also a lighter-weight pack format, a key attribute given the growing importance being attached to carbon footprint analysis and the environmental impact of packaging."

Flexible packaging has reached market maturity in the developed nations of North America and western Europe and future growth will be modest. However, Pira expects flexible packaging to see stronger growth in developing countries.

Key points from the report  Asia is the largest regional market with 29.1% of global market volume in 2011, followed by western Europe and North America.  Asia is also the fastest-growing market for consumer flexible packaging, with a forecast CAGR for 2011-16 of 7.9%.  Asia is forecast to represent 55.0% of total world flexible packaging consumption growth during the period 2011-16.  India and China are the fastest-growing national markets for consumer flexible packaging, combined they account for 44% of world flexible packaging consumption growth during the forecast period.

Food accounts for almost three-quarters of global consumer flexible packaging markets and consumption in 2011. Meat, fish and poultry is the largest food sector for flexible forecasts packaging, followed by confectionery and baked goods.

Flexible packaging covers materials that have undergone a conversion process including printing, lamination, coating and extrusion, and can involve different substrates such as plastic films, paper and foil. Flexible pack types include plastic bags and sacks, wrapping films and lidding films, paper bags and wrapper, and aluminium foil laminates, foil lidding, blister packaging and foil bags, sachets and pouches. More at Pira International