The Asia Pacific Flexible Packaging Market is anticipated to grow with a CAGR of 2.76% during the forecast period of 2021-2026. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the flexible packaging manufacturers have been flooded with a pool of issues that are expected to be only for the short -term. Some of the effects of lockdown include lack of availability of raw materials used in the manufacturing process, supply chain disruptions, fluctuating prices, labor shortages that could cause shipping problems, production of the final product to inflate and go beyond budget, etc.
- Flexible packaging across the Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness a stable growth rate for the forecast period. Some of the prominent vendors in the region are driving their focus toward the ever-growing concern regarding environmental sustainability by adopting efficient manufacturing techniques throughout the three stages of the packaging life cycle - manufacturing, transportation, and disposal process.
- The top R&D priority for packaging engineers across the region has always been on developing the packaging product with lightweight material having thinner laminate structures without compromising upon the overall barrier, thereby maintaining its functional properties and required strength. Also, the increasing demand for geographically constrained food, which has a short shelf-life, has boosted the growth of new products, especially in the frozen food division, which is primarily realized through flexible packaging.
- Also, there is a considerable increase in domestic demand for flexible packaging in the Asia Pacific, owing to the rapid urbanization across the emerging economies, such as China and India. Healthy growth from end-users across the region is further driving the need for producing higher flexible packaging products, primarily among the wraps and pouches segment, majorly to address the small quantity retailing needs of the rising middle-class population in the region.
- The demand for flexible packaging products is mostly driven by millennial consumers in the region, as they have an avid preference for single-serving and on-the-go style food and beverage products. As these products are generally designed to be portable, durable, and lightweight, flexible packaging stands to be a popular option to pack such products. The fastest-growing areas of snack foods, both in terms of fresh items and processed foods, are expected to govern the demand for flexible packaging from the food and beverage industry of the region.
- Further, the beverage industry offers potential growth opportunities for flexible packaging across the region. Food companies are expanding their businesses in terms of geography and product lines to cater to this rising demand. For instance, Shou Quan Zhai, founded in 1760 and one of the oldest food companies in China, is expanding into the beverage market with a new line of ready-to-drink products.
Key Market Trends
Food-Packaging Industry to Drive the Market Growth
- According to IBEF, the Indian food and grocery market is the world's sixth-largest, with retail contributing 70% of the sales. The Indian food processing industry accounted for 32% of the country's total food market, one of the largest industries in India, ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export, and expected growth.
- The food and pharmaceutical packaging sectors mainly drive the growth in the flexible packaging industry in India. The large and growing Indian middle class and the growth in organized retailing in the country are fuelling growth in the flexible packaging industry. Another factor, which has provided substantial stimulus to the packaging industry is the rapid growth of exports, which requires superior packaging standards for the international market. The Indian packaging industry is dominated by flexible plastic packaging.
- The traditional rigid packaging users have also been seen to shift to flexible packaging in recent times. According to industry sources, the main reason for this is that flexible packages are found aesthetically attractive, cost-effective, and sturdy. Consumer preference for the use of convenient packaging and packaged products in affordable quantities in laminates is also one of the main reasons that have contributed to the growth of flexible packaging in India.
- Flexible packaging is mainly used for food, which contributes to more than 60% of the total market, according to the Flexible Packaging Association. The flexible packaging industry is witnessing healthy growth, as the industry was able to implement innovative solutions for the many packaging challenges it faced.
- In the food industry, beyond convenience, the other characteristics, such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste, are influencing the flexible packaging choice for meat, poultry, and seafood. Sustainability is one of the factors that the companies are finding more interest in recyclable and recycled-content flexible packaging solutions. For this, the solutions, such as formable paper, are gaining traction that offers excellent barrier properties, suitable for lunchmeat and portion packs, and reduced plastic use up to 80%.
India to Witness the Fastest Growth
- The primary drivers for the growth of the flexible packaging market in the country are the increasing per capita income, growing health consciousness, and changing lifestyle patterns. The country also boasts of abundantly available raw materials for manufacturing plastic, metal, and paper packaging.
- The growing competition and packaging standards set by the government for labeling of quality, quantity, and price, coupled with the demand for easy and convenient packaging, have been instrumental in driving the adoption of flexible packaging in India.
- Further, the increasing global trade and India's WTO commitment for rationalizing tariffs and lowering trade barriers have enabled the growth of international trade in packaging material and machinery, which, in turn, has equipped manufacturers with the machinery necessary to innovate and offer enhanced packaging.
- Change in the lifestyle and work culture, especially in countries like India, has given rise to the demand for easy-to-use and carry packaged food & beverage products, thereby driving the growth of the Asia Pacific flexible packaging market. The demand for flexible packaging is also derived from the growth of various end-user industries such as healthcare, food & beverages, among others. In food packaging, there has been a rise in the selection of small pack sizes that are easily consumable. "Tabekiri" packs meet the rising needs of single-person households attempting to consume small portions of a variety of products.
The demand for flexible packaging is growing faster than in many other forms. It includes trends like e-commerce, digital printing, and sustainability that can be used to drive market development and growth. Customers are increasingly becoming more eager to pay extra for certain product attributes boosted by flexible packaging. Key Players in this Market are - Amcor PLC, Berry Global Inc., Mondi Group, Sonoco Products Company, etc. The Recent developments in the market are -
- January 2021 - Amcor PLC announced a new range of flexible packaging for dairy products. Single-serve packaging for value-added dairy, dairy alternatives, and meal replacements has grown by double-digits over the last five years and continues to unleash major opportunities.
- September 2020 - Berry Gloabal Inc. partnered with Conagra Brands Inc. for producing sustainable packaging. It has unveiled new sustainable packaging for its products developed in partnership. The companies say the new design will reduce the packaging's carbon footprint by 98 metric tons annually.
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