The global market for folding cartons is growing by 5.1% annually, and will reach $184 billion by 2018, according to a study by Smithers Pira.
Market growth will see an increased demand for health care products, cigarettes, dry foods and frozen/chilled foods in the emerging economies.
Three technologies to add value to the folding carton market between 2013 and 2018, are retail-ready packs (mainly in microflute), anti-counterfeit systems and barrier coating technologies.
“One of the driving trends across the packaging supply chain is the question of end of life,” said Dr Liz Wilks,senior sustainability and stakeholder engagement manager, Asia Pulp and Paper.
“It is possible to recycle paper and board up to seven times, offering major environmental advantages over other materials and this is certainly contributing to the 5.1% annual growth in folding cartons which the Smithers Pira report has highlighted.”
Smaller packs trend
A trend towards smaller packs will be offset by an increase in demand for single serve portion packs which tend to use more total packaging material than the larger packs they replace, for the same volume of packed product said the report.
Continual brand differentiation in the crowded marketplace has seen a demand for innovative printing methods, with an increase in technologies as QR codes, holographic images, Fresnel lenses and other 3D devices.
The technological developments in printed electronics are bringing the development of smart packaging closer to fruition as costs are decreasing.
Convenience foods and the development of niche markets such as low calorie products are growth opportunities for both the dry and frozen foods sectors.
In the confectionery market, perceived over-packaging has been a focus of consumer discontent, leading to considerable innovation in the packaging of seasonal products such as Easter eggs and Christmas gift packs.
“Businesses are becoming increasingly conscious of how they can decrease their environmental footprint and this has certainly been a part of the growth we are seeing in the use of paper and board in packaging, particularly in the food and drink sectors,”added Wilks.
“We are increasingly seeing a combination of materials used to package products such as sandwiches, where paper and board are supplemented by a plastic film which provides a visible window to the product and ensures a cost efficient and waste efficient package for producers.”
The Future of Folding Cartons to 2018 study outlines the shape of the industry by end-use sector, region and country, with strategic forecasts to 2018, plus details of market drivers and opportunities.
It claims retail-ready packaging is a growing trend amongst retailers trying to reduce costs and comes in the form of corrugated/microflute systems, rigid plastic and some rigid board products.
Anti-counterfeit technology used in folding carton applications is expected to almost double with high growth expected, especially in the health care sector.
Developments in water-based coatings, nano-materials, bio-polymers and antimicrobial compounds are leading the growth for barrier coatings.
The report findings said globally, cartonboard production grew by 1.3% in 2012 to reach a total of 42.5 million tonnes, valued at $37.3 billion, with more than half of this volume located in the Asia-Pacific sector.
The top five producers of cartonboard constituted almost 16% of the total volume in 2012, with the top ten making up over a quarter.
The 20 largest producers accounted for 40% of the market. Total volume of converted folding carton grew by over 1% to reach 47.4 million tonnes in 2012, with 55% of this emanating in the Asia-Pacific sector.
The five largest cartonboard converters make up almost 7% of this market, while the 10 largest converters accounted for more than 9% of the volume in 2012.