The top five disruptive technologies in flexible packaging are forecast to be intelligent (smart) packaging, recyclability, packaging openability, biobased polymers and digital printing, according to a new market report by Smithers Pira.
Ten-Year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Flexible Packaging to 2023 identifies and assesses technological, economic, consumer, sociological, environmental and regulatory developments and trends which will impact the flexible packaging industry over the next 10 years to 2023. The 25 highest ranked developments were selected for further study with regard to their impact on the flexible packaging supply chain, commercial products and associated technologies and trends. Based on current flexible packaging markets, the centre of attention within the report is inevitably food and beverage packaging, but other applications are considered including pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, medical devices and electronics, together with a wide range of flexible packaging materials including plastics, paper and metal foils.
Because of growing consumer focus on convenience and sustainability, general flexible packaging use has been growing rapidly worldwide both in absolute and percentage terms. 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.
These current trends concerning flexible packaging and rapid growth are anticipated to continue and increase over the next 10 years to 2023. There will be continuous development of new flexible packaging products for new markets and applications encroaching on traditional rigid packaging. High growth is expected in Europe and North America, as well as in the emerging markets of Asia and Central and South America.
Important drivers from a manufacturing viewpoint will include savings in materials, manufacturing and transportation costs and increased line filling speeds for pouches to match those for rigid bottles. From the consumer viewpoint, two important drivers will be the growing focus on convenience and sustainability.
New report on flexible packaging