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Top 25 impacts on flexible packaging supply chain

By Jenny Eagle+

02-Apr-2014
Last updated the 02-Apr-2014 at 12:07 GMT

Smithers Pira flexible packaging report
Smithers Pira flexible packaging report

Smithers Pira has released a report which shows which trends will impact the flexible packaging market over the next 10 years.

The ‘Ten-Year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Flexible Packaging to 2023’, looks at technological, economic, consumer, sociological, environmental and regulatory changes and talks about the 25 highest ranking developments, see below, for further study.

Biobased polymers

Chandra Leister, marketing and production manager,Smithers Pira, told FoodProductionDaily it released the report as part of efforts to check what’s happening within the market every two to five years, depending on growth trends.

She said intelligent (smart) packaging and recyclability will be the top two most disruptive technologies in flexible packaging. The others include ‘openability’, biobased polymers and digital printing.

Due to a consumer focus on convenience and sustainability, flexible packaging has been growing rapidly worldwide,” she said.

It is gaining market share from other packaging formats such as rigid packaging. This growth is projected to continue because flexible packaging, particularly pouch packaging, uses less energy and materials and has lower transport costs, environmental impact and carbon footprint than its rigid counterparts.”

The study claims flexible packaging products will be developed for new markets in Europe and North America, as well as Asia and Central and South America.

Drivers include savings in materials, manufacturing and transportation costs and increased line filling speeds for pouches to match those for rigid bottles.  

Next 10 years

It says ‘the innovation in and implementation of smart and active packaging over the next 10 years will be the top disruptive factor affecting the flexible packaging industry’.

Current technologies have been effected by high cost, consumer resistance to items such as sachets in packaging, and concerns about excessive packaging. However, it says the deployment of intelligent packaging will become more frequent with decreasing cost, increasing emphasis on food safety, anti-counterfeiting, new regulations and brand owner/consumer demand.

Together with printed electronics and digital printing, this will lead to better perceptions of the function of packaging, beyond the traditional containment, preservation, protection and identification to include a monitoring, tracking, warning, remediation, authentication, communication and brand protection.

According to the report, the second most disruptive technology in flexible packaging is recyclability.

It said because of the small amount of material used in a flexible package, it generates less waste. But, it is not currently feasible to mechanically recycle postconsumer flexible packaging because of its thin film structure, multi-layered composition and often contamination by food waste.

The Top 25 developments:

  1. Intelligent (smart) packaging
  2. Recyclability
  3. Packaging openability
  4. Biobased polymers
  5. Digital printing
  6. Barrier structures
  7. Increasing government regulation
  8. Shelf life extension
  9. Active packaging
  10. Pouch packaging
  11. Brand protection, identification and anti-counterfeiting methods
  12. Consumer issues and preferences
  13. Polymers, blends, composites and multilayer structures
  14. Internet shopping and online revolution
  15. Biodegradable polymers
  16. Reclosable and resealable packaging
  17. Concentrates and refillable systems
  18. Consumer demographics and eating habit changes
  19. Tamper-evident and resistant technologies
  20. 3D printing
  21. Coatings for paper and paperboard
  22. Sealing materials and processes and adhesive bonding
  23. Shelf-ready packaging
  24. Paper-based packaging
  25. Shelf life sensors

Click here to download the report.

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