Industry experts outlined their views on the key drivers behind future growth in demand for packaging products, and predicted the industry could break through $1 trillion in global sales by 2020, but more must be done for this to happen.
The ability of printers and packaging manufacturers to keep pace with changing customer demand, whether for the personalised packages unlocked by digital printing, or demand for luxury and sustainable materials will be the key to the long term success of the industry.
“You need to think about the end of life of a product right at the start of the process,” said Liz Wilks, APP European director – sustainability and stakeholder outreach. “What we’re seeing with luxury packaging is growth in paper and board and that’s being driven by a number of things, from the look and feel, to its suitability for a variety of printing techniques, through to its sustainability credentials.”
She added that digital printing will also open up a range of new and exciting print applications.
“We could be looking at more than 9 billion consumers on the planet by 2050 and more people than ever before will be living in cities with busy, time-precious lives. That’s going to lead to more demand for out of home food service as well as on-the-go packaging, savvy brands will be looking at how to establish their reputations in these areas in the years ahead.”
All the panellists agreed that the luxury market will be a major contributor to growth, with expected growth of 19% in value terms through to 2019, creating a market worth $17.6bn.
Growth across Asia-Pacific and South & Central America is expected to reach as high as 6% and 9% per annum respectively as a new generation of consumers begin to access luxury packaging, while the established markets of Western Europe and North America will also enjoy healthy growth of 3% per annum, largely driven by an increase in personalised packaging sectors such as the premium alcoholic drinks market.
Dominic Cakebread, packaging consultant at Smithers Pira, argued that one area of future growth could be through greater collaboration between traditional rivals from the plastics and paper industries, in particular in terms of making use of biodegradable plastics.
“While the two industries may still see themselves as competitors there are several scenarios where the two materials work well in tandem, particularly with biodegradable plastics as an alternative to traditional PE linings for food contact materials.”
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