The Future of Flexible Packaging in the World

One of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the world and all industries in 2020, was the flexible packaging industry. Despite the decline in production together with disruptions in the supply chain process, the increase in demand for flexible packaging for food, clothing, and pharmaceutical packaging has drawn attention. It is predicted that the industry, which also responds to more demand for sustainable solutions, will continue to get consistently increasing demand for flexible plastic, foil, and paper packaging for the next five years. Based on the recent market reports, there was a -5.5% decrease in production in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is suggested that the amount of production will reach an estimated 31.5 million tons in 2021. With the start of easing restrictions in the countries and the maintenance of international trade, it is estimated that there will be greater demand in 2021 and that the flexible packaging industry will have a combined annual growth rate of 3.4% by volume by directly benefiting from the increasing demand. The reason is that the demand for healthcare, medical products, and household supplies is not expected to decline significantly and an increase in retail distribution for the deliveries of online sales channels is observed. This situation also leads to an increase in the demand for flexible plastic packaging solutions. It is considered that the impact of the stagnation in the industries after COVID-19 will differ from country to country, depending on the effectiveness of governments’ incentives, as well as the success in national virus control and vaccination programs.

Sustainability in Flexible Packaging

While the most important priority that showed its effect with COVID-19 in 2020 has been to ensure production and safety, it seems that sustainability has never been off the agenda. Many FMCG companies are trying to achieve their sustainability goals in their packages by 2025 or 2030. In studies aiming to minimize environmental impact, it was observed that the barrier performance of flexible packaging solutions focused on preventing food waste by minimizing deterioration in perishable foods.

In line with the increasing awareness of health and environmental, demand, and expectations of consumers and the increasing interest of governments in the environmental impact of packaging, it is suggested that flexible plastic solutions (BOPP, CPP, BOPA, BOPET, PE, PVC, EVOH, RCF) will achieve the fastest growth in the market and will remain the largest segment of the market.

It is indicated that companies will show their customers their green identity in retail packaging and their interest in flexible paper concepts will be considerably high.

On the other hand, it is observed that manufacturers are considering sustainable packaging solutions that require less material and energy for package production, offer longer shelf-life for products, and reduce shipping costs to protect the integrity of product packages and ease up cost pressure.


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