Demand for converted flexible packaging in the US is projected to grow 3% annually to $18.8 billion in 2017. The market for converted flexible packaging will benefit from the inherent advantages of light weight bags and pouches and the convenience they offer. Further market penetration will be influenced by features dedicated to enhancing the consumer experience, leading to higher retail volumes. Long term prospects for converted flexible packaging will be heightened by technology advances to enhance shelf life and protect the package from bacteria and other potential contaminants. These and other trends are presented in Converted Flexible Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. (freedoniagroup.com), a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Pouches, primarily of a standup construction, will offer significant growth opportunities. Analyst Joe Pryweller forecasts demand “to increase 3.6% per year through 2017 to $8.2 billion, with even faster growth through 2022.” Recent product launches will contribute to further growth. Mr. Pryweller also noted, “Growth in demand for pouches is also a function of economics, as the lighter weight packages can vastly reduce both production and transport costs.”
The use of bags in converted flexible packaging also will increase, albeit slower than in previous years, with projected growth of 2.6% per annum to $9.2 billion in 2017. The bag market is especially strong for nonfood items such as pharmaceuticals and medical products, where advancements in sealing and protection and strong handling capabilities are driving gains. The continuing conversion to plastic bags in the pet food market and the popularity of ready-to-eat and case-ready meats will trigger added growth for both bags and pouches.
Converted flexible packaging will provide strong competition to rigid packaging in food applications, where there are opportunities for further market penetration. Growth will be led by product introductions in packaged meat and poultry, snack foods, ready-to-eat produce, pet food and specialty beverages. Added features, such as easy opening and resealing, will also fuel continued conversions from rigid containers to converted flexible packaging. In nonfood applications, the health care market is especially vital due to the growth of the aging US population and a focus on product protection and clean room environments. The growing popularity of pouches for single-use laundry and dishwasher detergent and the conversion to reclosable, large-format plastic bags for lawn and garden and other household items showcase the potential for pouch and bag formats.