The global pouches market is expected to grow with innovation in secured packaging methods and value-added services such as spout and fitments, tear notch, rounded corners. Technology advancements such as scope for digital printing offered by these packaging methods, which helps to get better consumer traction is expected to help the industry growth in food and beverage applications. The packaging industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world with flexible packaging occupying a major share. Among the variety of products offered by flexible packaging, pouches has the highest share due to their sustainability and recyclability. Rising consumer acceptance for pouches in the food & beverage industry over traditional glass, metal, and paper packaging is likely to boost the market growth.
E-commerce companies offer various benefits such as safe and quick shipping of products, which are driving the online retailing sector, thereby stimulating the growth of the market. Industries are moving from the production of traditional packaging to flexible pouches as they are lightweight, attractive, compact, offer increased shelf life and reduced wastage of products. Changing lifestyles, increasing disposable income, and rapid urbanization are propelling the demand for ready to eat (RTE) food products. RTE products are convenient to use and their rising acceptance is driving the packaged food industry.
Pouches are manufactured using multi-layered films that protect the contents from light, moisture, odor and preserve the freshness of food and beverages. Standup pouch is a good option for food and beverage packaging and it is gaining popularity among consumers and manufacturers. Typical pouches are made of multi-layer films of plastic, which are difficult to recycle. However, government initiatives to reduce the environmental impact are likely to encourage the packaging industry to find solutions for sustainable flexible packaging.
Manufacturers are increasingly investing in R&D to innovate processes oriented at reducing the cost, weight and increasing the shelf life of products. Leading brands in the food & beverage industry are giving up on conventional boxes, cartons, and cans as the production of flexible packaging require less energy, reduced fuel consumption, and accounts for less CO2 emission & less landfill space, which makes it environment-friendly.
The product has four main layers, namely surface, bulk, barrier, and sealant, wherein each layer serves a unique purpose. These layers are made up of multi-layer high barrier materials such as aluminum foil within the polyethylene laminate. To recycle the product, it is important to separate these layers, which is a challenging task. It is important to take into consideration that there is no proper closed-loop system for recycling flexible packaging using the current infrastructure. Hence, there are continuous R&D efforts for improving the raw material used as well as the recycling methods. Industries must address environmental concerns by employing recycling alternatives such as microwave pyrolysis and others.
Upcoming innovations in digital printing such as the use of computer-generated graphics or images are likely to dominate the flexible packaging industry. With the changing trends, the packaging of flexible pouches is designed with inks, embellishments, and artwork to quickly capture the attention of customers. These designing trends also help companies easily customize the packaging of pouches. Digital printing has opened more opportunities for the flexible packaging industry.
There is a shift in demographics and consumer preference from rigid packaging to flexible packaging and a rise in government regulations aimed at encouraging organizations to opt for sustainable packaging. The global market for online retailing continues to grow at a faster pace, driven by the penetration of smartphones and the internet.
Various types of pouches manufactured are 3 and 4 side sealed, center sealed, side gusseted, stand-up pouches, degassing valve pouch, spout pouch, retort pouch, vacuum pouch, flat pouches, retort, vacuum, aseptic, and spouted. The layers of film in pouches preserve the content, maintain shelf life, freshness, and prevent any damage to the content in the pack. Advanced seal technology helps in keeping the food fresh through all stages of the supply chain.
Flexible packaging including pouches involves various processing steps such as vacuum metalizing, heat seal, flexographic printing, and adhesive lamination, through which the final product with four main layers is produced. Polyethylene terephthalate is the outer layer used for printing, which provides strength and protection to the inner layers. Aluminum is the layer below polyethylene terephthalate, which blocks UV light, oxygen, and humidity. Polyamide blocks oxygen and provides strength and polyethylene, the inner part of the bag, has sealing properties. Finally, the pouches manufactured have add-ons such as spouts & fitments, press to close zippers, handle holes and resealable which makes it user friendly. The key end-users for pouches include healthcare & pharmaceutical industry, food industry, agricultural products, chemicals, cosmetics, retail consumer storage.
The market for pouches is likely to grow in Asia-Pacific, particularly in India and China, which are densely populated countries. Urbanization and demand for compact packaging solutions are projected to widen the consumer base for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and FMCG products, which will, in turn, drive the growth of the pouches market in these regions.
Key players in the pouches market include Amcor plc; Ampac; Constantia Flexibles; Mondi; Bemis Company Inc; Sonoco Products Company; Berry Global Inc; Huhtamaki; and Coveris Holdings S.A. The U.S. market witnessed the formation of major mergers and acquisitions. For instance, DS Smith Plc acquired Parish Manufacturing Inc, Gateway Packaging Company acquired the assets of Werthan Packaging Inc, Mondi Group acquired Excelsior Technologies, Sonoco Products Company acquired Peninsula Packaging Company.
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FDA, in particular, has relaxed the nutrition labeling of products which is expected to aid in increasing the distribution of packaged foods by restaurant operators leading to the optimum supply chain of products to consumers. Furthermore, food safety testing and processing industries are expected to function at full capacity owing to consumers stock-piling goods during the COVID-19 lockdown. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.