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The Packaging Materials Future Outlook: Key trends in new materials, lightweighting and emerging applications

Press Release   •   Oct 13, 2010 22:44 IST

The global consumer packaging market is worth around US$400bn. The market has been relatively resilient in the face of economic ups and downs, but the current recession has taken its toll – 2009 saw a downturn in market value. This report pinpoints the reasons why, highlights consumer and industry trends and casts an informed and speculative eye on the future. There is no doubt that consumer goods and consumer packaging are now facts of modern life, but the market is evolving and it is only prudent to understand the drivers of change and to take this understanding into planning for the future.

The inexorable rise of plastic packaging has been the key market narrative, a rise driven by cost, convenience and the entirely natural desire to do ever more with ever less. Plastic, however, is made from petrochemicals and raw materials are becoming increasingly costly. More significant still, plastic has relatively poor environmental credentials and is profoundly disliked by consumers, particularly in the developed West. Nevertheless, the plastics sector continues to receive the lion’s share of R&D into new technology, although bioplastics and nano-enhanced ‘super packaging’ are both some way from being commercially viable. Paper-based packaging is still the largest sector and has very strong environmental credentials; improving paper-s barrier properties is a crucial step in increasing its viability as a packaging material. Glass has an enviable reputation as a premium material and as a packaging medium out of which food and drink taste better; lightweighting is helping make glass easier to handle and more cost-effective in production and distribution. The rise of the aluminium beverage can has helped sustain the metal packaging sector – in other areas; metal is being developed through higher-quality graphics, new printing techniques and innovation in convenient closures.

This report assesses the relative weights of all these trends and sets the packaging market in its context – social, economic, environmental and cultural. It examines this complex and dynamic market organically, from the viewpoints of suppliers and end-users and looks in detail at regional drivers, as developing markets increasingly shape the future.

Key features of this report

• A broad assessment of the size and dynamics of the global consumer packaging market and its drivers – economic, social, cultural and environmental.
• Coverage of trends by material – plastics, glass, metal, paper and paperboard, by region – Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific and by product sector – alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food.
• Assessment of consumer attitudes to packaging and the manner in which hardening attitudes amongst end-users are influencing the packaging industry.
• Comparative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of packaging material, in easy-to-view format.
• An assessment of how emerging technologies are likely to impact on the future of the market and on individual sectors.
• Illustrated references to key product introductions and innovations
• Assessment of supply-side trends and profiling of major industry players and their strategies
• Identification of the key commercial implications of current trends and an assessment of the future outlook for the market.

Key benefits from reading this report

• Understand market dynamics and make informed assessments of the future shape of the market, particularly in terms of what materials and technologies warrant investment.
• Decisions taken now, in the light of full information and a complete picture, can determine future progress - in a rapidly-changing marketplace, the winners stay ahead of the game and anticipate, rather than simply react.
• Gain an understanding of how the market is likely to look as the current recession passes into memory.
• Understand niche as well as mainstream packaging sectors; there are many potential avenues of growth for smaller suppliers who apprehend consumer needs.
• Be in a good position to tie product to the best packaging, especially in terms of new product development.
• Take all of the above information into the core of your NPD programme and appreciate fully the payoffs this will have, not only in terms of profitability, but – and crucially - in terms of company and brand image
• Understand the packaging market, not simply in terms of data, but holistically. Markets, like consumers, do not exist in a vacuum, but are proactive. The shape of change in the packaging market is tied inextricably to broader social issues and, ultimately, to the fact that packaging is something consumers take into their homes and have a relationship with.

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