Environmental concerns, however, will increase demand for flexible packaging products and growth in rigid packaging will lag behind total packaging demand, Freedonia said. Growth in rigid packaging demand will be limited by other factors including market maturity in developed countries, market saturation in established applications including bottled and canned beers and carbonated soft drinks.
The largest markets for rigid packaging are food and beverages, which combined represented 64% of total rigid packaging demand in 2011. Significant gains are expected for plastic bottles and containers as a result of cost and performance advantages, as well as further development of food-grade materials. Beverage applications for rigid packaging will also benefit from expanded processing capacity, the researcher said.
Rigid packaging demand in pharmaceutical applications is forecast to see above average growth, boosted by rapidly expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities, especially in Asia, and in particular for prefillable syringes and vials as a result of advances in biotechnology.
Plastic will continue to account for the largest share of total demand and will also see the greatest gains, as plastic containers take market share from metal, paperboard and glass packaging in many applications. Gains for plastic containers will be attributable to their cost advantages over alternatives, shatter resistance, ease of opening and dispensing, resealability, and graphics capabilities, as well as improved resin and processing technologies that result in enhanced barrier properties, heat resistance, and design flexibility.
The Asia-Pacific region will remain the largest market, thanks to its large food and beverage industries. The Africa and Middle East region will also show above average growth, although gains will stem from relatively small bases – the region is the smallest global market, accounting for only 3% of global rigid packaging demand in 2011. Overall, some of the highest growth rates are expected in India, China and Indonesia, with Brazil, Turkey, Russia and Mexico expected to register healthy gains. China alone will account for 46% of global value gains in rigid packaging demand between 2011 and 2016, the report concludes.