The global thermoform packaging market size was estimated at USD 39.86 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 4.7% over the forecast period. Rising demand for packaged food, such as prepared food and packaged meat & seafood products, coupled with growing penetration of the retail sector, is expected to drive the market growth during the forecast period.
Thermoforming is a plastic molding process wherein plastic material is heated up to its pliable temperature, and further, it is converted into the desired shape by using molding. The thermoforming process is divided into two types, namely, thin gauge and thick gauge thermoforming. Thin gauge thermoform products such as a blister, clamshell, trays & lids, and others are widely employed for the packaging of various food, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and home care products.
The thermoforming process offers several advantages such as lower tooling costs, quick product development and prototyping, and low production cost for smaller production quantities, over other plastic molding processes such as injection and rotational molding. Increasing focus on the development of sustainable packaging is expected to negatively impact the demand for plastic-based cups, trays, and lids. Thus, it may act as a restraint for the global market.
Increasing the adoption of novel technologies such as modified atmosphere technologies by the food manufacturers to extend the shelf life of packaged food is expected to benefit the global market. Foodservice outlets commonly use thermoform packaging products such as containers, trays, and cups for the table offering as well as for the parcel packaging.
Rising trend towards consumption of on-the-go, single-serve, ready to eat food products is expected to be the key factor driving the market. The growing demand from foodservice operators for thermoformed products such as clamshells, trays, and containers are anticipated to further enhance market growth. However, stringent regulations concerning plastics may hamper market growth over the forecast period.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most commonly utilized thermoplastic polymer resin. It is a semi-crystalline, colorless, and highly flexible in its natural state. PET is extruded to derive PET films and is blow-molded to form solid packaging objects. Properties including high strength, lightweight, non-reactive, flexibility, and recyclability among others make PET a suitable choice as a material. Moreover, it showcases low water absorption and does not react with food or beverages, which makes it an ideal choice for packaging consumable products.
PET accounted for the largest share in the material segment of the global thermoform packaging market in 2018. Increasing preference for recyclable material in the packaging industry, on account of rising concerns over the use of plastic, is expected to augment growth to the segment in the coming years.
PE material segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR in the coming years on account of its increasing demand for skin packaging. PE includes LDPE and HDPE, LDPE is majorly incorporated for the packaging of meat and seafood products whereas HDPE material is primarily used for manufacturing of industrial packaging trays and robust food service trays. Increasing retail penetration, coupled with the growing frozen meat industry across the globe, is anticipated to benefit the segment over the next few years.
Polypropylene (PP) is among the widely used materials in the global market. Polypropylene is a very tough and robust plastic material. It exhibits several favorable properties including good heat resistance, high puncture resistance, clarity, and strength among others thereby making it ideal for several applications. Moreover, these materials assist in retaining the freshness of various food items owing to which they are widely used in the food packaging industry.
High tolerance at elevated temperatures makes PP ideal for microwavable applications. Commonly manufactured thermoform rigid packaging products include tubs, microwaveable takeout containers, and bakery containers, among others. Another factor driving the usage of this material includes its recyclability.
The container product segment accounted for the highest market share of 26.8% in terms of revenue in the year 2018. Wide-scale adoption of thermoforming containers by the foodservice industry attributed to its most significant share in the product type segment. Increasing food delivery services, especially in the developing region, is expected to augment growth to the container product type segment over the coming few years.
A container is a hollow object used to hold a product or many products. Containers are used for a wide range of products including dried fruits, fresh fruits, chilled and prepared meals, bakery products, and frozen food among others. Commonly utilized products for manufacturing containers include PET, PP, and PS among others.
The clamshell product type segment is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR from 2019 to 2025 and reach USD 8,582.2 million in 2025. Clamshells are increasingly preferred by the various end-use industries such as electronics, homecare, and others due to its benefits, including transparency, lucrative design, ease of customer use, and tamper-evident properties.
Food & beverage is an important application employing clamshells. The foodservice industry in the U.S. is a major consumer of clamshells. These industries use clamshells for various products including ready-to-eat meals, bakery items, produce, and deli products, among others.
The food & beverage end-user segment accounted for the highest market share of 51.6% in terms of revenue in the year 2018. Besides, the industry is expected to register notable gains on account of the growing adoption of thermoforming containers for the packaging of dairy products. Higher preference for the lightweight packaging coupled with advancements in thermoforming technology is expected to further expand the food & beverage end-user industry segment in the global market.
The pharmaceutical end-use segment is estimated to grow at a CAGR from 2019 to 2025. Thermoform blister packs provide temper evidently, and convenient unit dose packaging, due to this, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies are increasingly incorporating blisters for packing of tablets and capsules.
Electronics is also an important application that employs blister packs for packing various products such as headphones, batteries, mobile accessories, and other products. E-commerce plays an important role in the sale of various electronic products. Increasing retail e-commerce sales is further likely to have a positive impact on the growth of the blister pack product segment over the forecast period.
The electronics industry, most notably the consumer electronics segment, is largely driven by various factors, including shorter product life cycles, new product developments, growing demand for smartphones, and associated accessories, among others. This industry is expected to witness increased demand for thermoforming products such as clamshells and blister packs during the forecast period.
North America accounted for the largest share in the global market in 2018 and is expected to maintain its leading position over the forecast period. The presence of large-sized packaged food and foodservice industries contributed to its highest share in the global market. Furthermore, the region also witnesses the presence of large-sized thermoform packaging manufacturers. Frequent new product launches by these companies expected to maintain steady growth of the thermoform packaging in the region.
The industry in the Asia Pacific region is estimated to grow at the highest rate, accounting for a CAGR of 6.8% from 2019 to 2025. Increasing the ready meals market, growing penetration of the online food delivery industry, especially in China and India, are contributing to the highest growth of the region.
Also, expanding the pharmaceutical industry in the region on account of rising health awareness and developing medical and pharmaceutical infrastructure is expected to boost the market growth in the region in the coming years. Products such as blister packs are expected to witness significant demand in the region over the coming years.
The market is characterized by the presence of both domestic and international players. The market participants compete principally based on product differentiation and services offered. Pactiv LLC emerged as the market leader in the industry in 2018 owing to its robust product offering for the food & beverage industry and sturdy presence in the North America region.
Prominent players of the industry include Bemis Company, Inc., DS Smith Plc, Amcor Limited, Sonoco Products Company, Placon Corporation, Display Pack Inc., WestRock Company, Pactiv LLC, Dart Container Corporation, Constantia Flexibles GmbH, Huhtamaki Group, Tray-Pak Corporation, D&W Fine Pack, Anchor Packaging, Inc., and Lacerta Group, Inc. These companies have cemented their prominence in the market by offering innovative packaging solutions coupled with rapid expansion on a global scale.
The base year for estimation
Actual estimates/Historical data
2014 - 2017
2019 - 2025
Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2019 to 2025
North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, Middle East & Africa
U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, UK, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia
Revenue forecast, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional & country levels and provides an analysis of the industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global thermoform packaging market based on material, product, end-use, and region:
Material Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Trays & Lids
End-Use Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Food & Beverage
Personal Care & Cosmetics
Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2014 - 2025)
Central & South America
Middle East & Africa
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