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Plastic film demand to grow in US, says Freedonia

By Joe Whitworth , 08-Jan-2013

US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.9% annually to 16 billion pounds in 2016 with a market value of $19bn, according to Freedonia.

Versatility in plastic film for packaging allows for downgauging, which reduces the amount of material needed and lowers production and shipping costs, while maintaining desired characteristics.

However, this leads to a reduced volume needed and limits growth.

Solid growth is expected for food packaging with the fastest gains in weight saving pouches for beverages, packaging for frozen foods and confections, and those designed to extend the shelf life of produce and dairy.

The market researchers look at the economic environment, demographic trends, pricing and historical market trends and regulatory and environmental considerations.

LDPE and HDPE forecast

Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) will remain the most widely used film, representing almost 50% of demand in 2016.

LLDPE will see gains in markets such as packaging for snack foods and produce, medical and pharmaceutical products, and stretch and shrink wraps.

Conventional low density polyethylene (LDPE) will grow at a slower pace as it is supplanted by better performing LLDPE in many applications.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is expected to grow at an above average pace through 2016, although constrained by slow growth in applications such as retail bags, HDPE film will exhibit gains in packaging for snack foods, baked goods, and grain mill products.

Demand for polypropylene film will also be above average through the forecast period, with packaging for snack foods, baked goods, and grain mill products the leading applications.

PET and PVC demand

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film demand will remain essentially unchanged, with increases in packaging demand for snack foods, dairy products, and frozen food offset by the continued decline in demand for photographic and magnetic film.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film demand is expected to grow at a below average rate through 2016, primarily due to packaging for medical products and shrink wrap applications.

Degradable plastic film will experience the fastest growth at more than 10% per annum through 2016, driven by efforts to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly products.

Companies featured in the report include Amcor, Berry Plastics, Bemis, Cereplast, Innovia, Onex Corporation, Reynolds Group Holdings, Sealed Air and Toray Industries.

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