Demand for pouches used in nonfood packaging applications is forecast to increase 5.4% annually to $2.2 billion in 2020. Gains for pouches in nonfood product uses will be driven by continued development of new applications resulting from such pouch benefits as reclosable zippers that are easier to use, spouts, pouring features, carrying handles and reduced shipping costs compared with rigid containers. Additionally, robust gains are expected for four-side-seal pouches in nearly every category, reflecting continued growth for unit dose and unit-of-use packaging. 

Industrial and other niche markets are expected to post the fastest gains, aided by increases in the manufacturing sector and efforts to save materials and costs by introducing unit-of-use packaging and pouches that allow for more precise dispensing. Gains for consumer uses will track the average based on sustained demand for unit dose laundry products packaged in dissolvable pouches as well as sustainability initiatives that promote pouch packaging. Detergent manufacturers will continue to emphasize unit dose offerings in order to boost sales in the stagnant U.S. laundry detergent market, in which consumers tend to favor low priced products.

Pouch demand in the medical and pharmaceutical market as a whole will also track the nonfood average, with advances reflecting the growing usage of unit-of-use packaging. Gains will be moderated somewhat by the already high penetration of pouches and performance limitations in the packaging of devices with multiple parts or with sophisticated devices vulnerable to damage during shipment. Still, good opportunities are expected in the unit dose packaging of drugs, and in small- to medium-sized supplies and devices. Innovations in pharmaceutical pouches directed at improving both security and functional features will drive value expansion.