While the market for flexible packaging was dominated by very large companies, the big players, further product proliferation and the speed of innovation are also favouring small and medium-sized companies and are now opening up new fields of activity for them.
While 95% of FINAT members indicated their main field of activity in the area of self-adhesive labels and a little over a third, i.e. 35% flexible packaging, a trend towards flexible packaging, especially pouches, is visible. Followed by linerless labels and in-mold labels.
The trend towards flexible packaging is not surprising
443 billion packaging, of which 193 billion will be flexible packaging in 2022. This represents an increase of 12.7% from 2017-2022. The world market for flexible packaging is developing rapidly.
The global market for flexible packaging is growing at very different rates in different geographical areas. In the so-called Eastern European countries and Russia, Euromonitor forecasts growth of +9% to 120 billion units. In Europe and Turkey, on the other hand, growth of +6% and 242 billion units are attributed to growth. The US market is expected to grow most moderately, at +4% and 136 billion units, respectively. The South American continent, on the other hand, can expect growth of +7% and 175 billion units. Australia and New Zealand follow with +11% and 12 billion units respectively. Naturally, the Asian region is the world’s largest market, with growth of +20% and 835 billion packaging units. Africa shows the highest growth rates as a future market with +26% and 75 billion units.
The Stand-Up Pouches market
While the global market for stand-up pouches was still worth $11.3 billion in 2018, it is forecast to reach $20.12 billion by 2026. This is an average growth rate of (CAGR) 7.73% in this segment.
This new packaging format began its rise in the 2000s. It all began with just 25 billion units. In the meantime, we are talking about over 170 billion stand-up pouches worldwide. That’s almost 23 pouches per capita. Within the category of flexible packaging, stand-up pouches are the fastest growing segment.
The reasons for this are obvious
Rigid packaging costs three to six times as much as flexible packaging, especially pouches. And the changeover is not rocket science. Printed folding cartons cost twice as much as flexible packaging. Profit margins for companies increase when they switch from rigid packaging to stand-up pouches.
Logistical advantages & Sustainability
In addition, the fact that the weight is 85% lower than that of rigid packaging ( tin/can) naturally also reduces the transport volumes. One pallet of empty stand-up pouches corresponds to 29 pallets of cans. When filled, stand-up pouches can accommodate five to ten times the number of pallets in a truck.
Of course, this goes hand in hand with many aspects of sustainability. On average, 60% less plastic is used and the product packaging ratio is optimised. This packaging requires about half the energy of rigid packaging during production. This reduces CO2 emissions by at least half.
Shelf-Impact & Differentiation
Stand-up pouches can be produced in almost any size and shape and are highly adaptive. With a wide range of shapes and sizes and stunning HD graphics, stand-up pouches stand out easily on the shelf. The biggest advantage of stand-up pouches in terms of shelf impact is the largest printable area of the packaging that is vertically positioned and facing the customer. Continuous development has resulted in new barriers and closure options. Resealable closures help to extend the shelf life of food products and create a better customer experience with the product. Customers can choose between pressure, zip or hook-to-hook closures to increase the convenience of the bag. This favours longer shelf life and guaranteed freshness. For the convenience-driven society, bag technologies enable the quality and health benefits of a wider variety of foods to be made available to consumers.
The further development of the substrates goes hand in hand with the spread into other printing technologies. Today, top quality print design is possible. Foil printing in premium quality with Flexo, gravure or inkjet digital printing processes, special surface effects such as glossy, matt or haptic and tactile coatings allow a wide range of design possibilities. Further features are: Printing on paper and watermarking to create invisible codes.
Small batch sizes in the future and personalized packaging
This is where flexo printing offers great advantages. Flexo printing is faster than gravure printing. Another advantage of flexo printing is its versatility. It can be used on almost any non-absorbent material. An advantage of flexo printing is that it is a fast and economical way to print even very sophisticated designs on standing packaging, relatively with some more advanced flexo printing machines. It supports a range of colours. It can be used with both water-based and oil-based inks. Currently, water-based inks are popular because of their non-toxicity.