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Flexible food packaging gains ground in U.S.

Flexible plastic packages are increasingly becoming the top choice of end-users in the U.S., according to the repor...


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January 29, 2007 by Canadian Plastics

Flexible plastic packages are increasingly becoming the top choice of end-users in the U.S., according to the report U.S. Plastics in Flexible Food Packaging, which was released on January 12, from San Antonio, Tex-based market research firm, Frost & Sullivan.
Frost cites the rising cost of aluminum, as well as the plastic films’ good barrier properties and tensile strength, as the primary reasons for the shift in the market.
“Being lightweight, flexible plastic packages also help reduce transportation costs will occupying less shelf space, thereby allowing end-users to display more products on the same shelf,” it was written in the report.
Mono-layered films accounted for about 58 per cent of the plastic flexible packaging market, while multi-layered films accounted for about 42 per cent of the market.
Mono-layered film usage is declining between five and 10 per cent a year, and it is expected that the usage of multi-layered films will overtake mono-layered in the next 12 to 18 months, according to the report.
Three-layered films accounted for 32 per cent of the multi-layered market, while five- and seven-layered films were the next most widely used, each accounting for 10 per cent of the market.
Although flexible plastic packaging boasts other benefits including a higher level of convenience and lower cost of manufacturing, it still falls short of rigid packaging when it comes to filling systems, according to the report.
Rigid package filling is more efficient and is about five times faster than flexible package filling.
Plus, most installed filling lines are dedicated to rigid packaging and many manufacturers are loathe to get rid of their rigid filling systems in favour of flexible package filling systems until they recover their investments in rigid lines, according to the report.
To mitigate this, manufacturers of flexible plastic packaging must work in tandem with makers of filling equipment to devise more efficient filling systems.
The increased popularity of stand-up pouches is also fuelling the growth of the flexible plastic packaging market due to their ability to offer a high-degree of product differentiation.