The packaging sector is on a promising growth trajectories, driven by a few major consumer trends in various end-use industries. Several shifts in consumer purchasing preferences and growing awareness of the environmental sustainability have been crucial to shaping new frontiers in packaging markets. Reducing the carbon footprint of the entire packaging process from sourcing of raw materials to the disposal of the packaging has influenced the decision of packaging manufacturers and retailers alike. ‘Green’ or eco-friendly packaging is no more a fad but has become a concept that is being fast internalized among consumers and brands. The entire packaging value chain has gone for an overhaul due to increased focus of big as well as small retail businesses to adopt environmentally friendly packaging. Interestingly, retail brands from across industries find packaging an exciting space to promote and differentiate their brands.
Another trend that bolsters new demands in the packaging sector is improving the performance of packaging. The trend has caught on higher momentum with food retail chains and food service manufacturers. Meanwhile, the reliability of packaging has been attracting the attention of end-use industries. Migration of toxic materials, including inks, is a telling concern for food manufacturers. This has also led governments framing new regulations in food packaging printing. Equally important concern is the protection and barrier properties of packaging used for food products. Food brands seek packaging that can retain the shelf life of food for long. In addition, they want to use minimal packaging. Adopting packaging materials a large of which can be recycled is gathering steam among packaging manufactures and food and beverages industries. The e-commerce on the other hand has generated a big momentum to the packaging industry, spurring the demand for new packaging solutions in European and North American countries.
Another technology trend that has expanded the horizon of the packaging businesses is the demand for smart packaging. The increasing adoption of Near-Field-Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLW) helps brands expand the scope of communication channels with their consumers. This is gathering traction notably in consumer goods, food, and pharmaceutical industries. This not only allows active tracking of the status of packaged food products but also enable businesses to fight against the menace of counterfeiting. Thus, players in the packaging sector has been investing in technologies that ensure forgery-proof packaging. Further, digital printing has considerably affected the evolutionary dynamics of the packaging sector. Digital technologies are fast being mainstreamed in mass production of packaging solutions.
In coming few years, the packaging sector will see packaging manufacturers expand their production base, mostly to new geographies such as Asia Pacific. Top packaging companies, however, tread cautiously. Further, several new concepts pertaining to active packaging will unlock new potential for market players.