New developments in packaging in terms of pack size and convenience are driving the demand for plastic packaging film and sheet manufacturing. Convenience features, such as easy-opening, stand-up pouches and smaller pack sizes for single-servings, are increasing the consumption of plastics. BCC Research (bccresearch.com) projects the global plastics packaging film and sheet manufacturing market to grow from $97.9 billion in 2016 to $123.7 billion in 2020, demonstrating a 6.0% CAGR.
BCC Research’s report, “Plastics Packaging Film and Sheet Manufacturing,” cites four key trends: consolidation, investment, recycling and waste management, and specialty products. In recent years, the industry has seen a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions intended to enlarge product ranges or distributor networks. In the first half of 2017 alone, Leonard Green & Partners acquired Charter NEX, and Sigma Plastics Group purchased BJK Flexible Packaging. Investment is trending up in developing countries such as India, China, Brazil and Africa, where companies seek to expand into untapped markets where labor costs are lower. For example, in 2017 Amcor proposed a $28 million acquisition of Hebei Qite Packing Co. Ltd., China. The company acquired Alusa, the largest flexible packaging business in South America, for $435 million in 2016.
Other trends include companies investing in research and development to produce recyclable plastic sheets that comply with stricter global environmental regulations. Also, companies are developing products with applications specific to end-use industries such as frozen food, electronics, bakery and confectionary products, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. For example, in September 2017 DuPont Protection Solutions introduced a new class of Tyvek® for medical packaging applications.
- Polyethylene (PE) plastics packaging companies are investing heavily in research and development of new products.
- In emerging nations, demand for industrial packaging products has increased as consumption of processed foods, poultry, meat and agricultural and pharmaceutical products has grown.
- Advances in technologies such as digital printing and embellishing are enabling plastic packaging film and sheet companies to optimize operations and reduce operational costs.
According to BCC Research Senior Editor Gordon Nameni, increased manufacturing capacity is a key trend in shaping the PE market.
“There is growing global demand for polyethylene products, which is forcing plastic films and sheets companies to increase investment in their production plants,” Nameni says. “For example, ExxonMobil launched the “Growing the Gulf” initiative in March 2017, where the company plans to invest more than $20 billion over 10 years to increase production capacity in the Gulf Coast Region. As a part of the plan, it also opened two new production lines at their plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas.”