Packaging is defined as the way of enclosing a product to protect it at the time of distribution, transportation, storage, sale and use through air, land and water. It also refers to the process of designing, evaluating and producing packages. It can also be defined as the planning, creating, manufacturing, wrapping, boxing, or bottling of goods for consumer, industrial, and military markets. The packaging industry have a role in approximately all the industries and manufacturing establishments. Packaging is one of the largest employers, demanding professionals and specialists from various fields such as mechanical and electrical engineering, physical and organic chemistry, food technology, sales, communications, marketing, production, printing, and graphic design.
Global Packaging Industry Market is valued at USD 869.013 billion in 2019 and expected to reach USD 1183.399 billion by 2026 with the CAGR of 4.51% over the forecast period.
The growing application of packaging in various industries such as pharmaceutical, food processing, manufacturing industry, FMCG and increasing development of packaging sector in emerging economies such as China, India, Brail, Russia and few other East European countries are the major factors driving the packaging industry. The growth of global trade as well as urbanization and population growth are giving huge pressure on export & import as well as packaging for safety of the goods. The busy life also forced many consumers to consume food on the go, which is increasing the need for food service packaging. Packaging industry have come up with different types of innovative packaging technology such as Packaging with safe closures, flexible handling or easy portioning which helps in increasing the portfolio of packaging industry. Europe has largest share in global packaging industry with more than 30 percent of share followed by North America with 28% and Asia-Pacific with 27% market share. According to Smithers Pira, non-paper-based packaging has more than 54% share of whole packaging industry and paperboard packaging has about 36% market share which shows the demand of new innovative packaging compared to traditional packaging system.
With world being isolated in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a surge in the demand for food delivery. Companies such as Uber Eats and Grubhub have a significant increase in orders placed. Many food delivery companies have changed their policies and relinquished delivery fees to further encourage people to stay home.
This development provides a new dilemma for brands that have reputation on their commitment to sustainable practices according to consumer preferences. In previous year, a Consumer Trends Report from Asia Pulp & Paper said that 64% of Americans choose to purchase food products packaged sustainably.
Even with this demand for sustainable packaging, single-use plastic is still manufactured in huge quantities. The global production of plastic packaging is approximately 78 million metric tons and from that, only 14% is recycled.
Over the previous years, there has been growing awareness toward sustainable packaging, but COVID-19 has changed this shift. Due to the safety concerns of reusable bags, containers and mugs, plastic bags and packaging have perceived as the assumed safer alternative to reusable ones. The need of social distancing measures has made consumers to rely more on food delivery services, increasing demand for disposable food packaging which provides food safety and quality.
Consumers are now putting more attention to how the businesses they support are managing the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly the brands they trust to feed their families.
Food packaging industry is now focusing more on meeting these consumer demands – such as preserving food quality, protection from contamination and providing customer convenience. As restaurant brands are assessing their supply chains and analyzing potential disruptions, options still exist for brands that are declining to use single-use plastic.
For instance, paper packaging products such as the Bio Natura Foodpak solution from Asia Pulp & Paper offers a solution that is recyclable and compostable, enabling for brands to continue to decrease plastic and Styrofoam usage without interrupting the environmental awareness. This makes it easier for consumers to dispose of the packaging once their food arrives at home. These types of paper products are easily recycled and industrial compostable within 12 weeks different from plastic containers which use for packaging purpose.
As the surge for food delivery services continues, the packaging industry will continue to innovate to help food brands placate consumer demands for both environmental sustainability and mass consumption.
Digital printing uses computer generation as the main mechanism in designing physical product packaging and creating the images or graphics governing their appearance. Digital printing is applied in every part of present packaging industry and is expected to maintain its trend throughout 2020.
Digital printing enables packagers far more options in personalization and customizing options than mechanical processes such as typesetting did. Many packaging companies swapped from analog to digital within the past decade. Until 2020, there are only a handful of companies that have not yet used digital printing.
The packaging industry reached a cross section point in this decade, in which leaving behind traditional methods have become imperative to be able to competitive for the companies. The use of digital presses increased, while conventional presses declined. For instance, in 2018, narrow-web digital presses exceeded the standard flexo presses for the first time. This digital printing technology permits all colors to be printed in a single pass, which has nurtured a trend of “printing on-demand” in the industry. It is estimated that by 2024, the global digital printing packaging market will reach USD 28 billion.
Digital printing makes it easier to customize packaging and add personalization to products. This trend is expected to have major industry impact in packaging industry in 2020. One survey said that, about 70% of packaging companies believe personalization has extremely strong impact on their customers.
Personalization enables a company to promote their name and brand in a forceful way that stands out from competitors. For example, Coca-Cola printing customer’s names on their soft drink containers, Frito-Lay printing faces on their potato chip packages and Bud Light printing football teams on their beer cans.
Gradually brands are even starting to aim extremely targeted markets with their packaging. For example, Anheuser-Busch packaged their Busch and Busch light beer cans to the outdoors to appeal to hunters, fishermen, and other outdoorsmen.
The personalized packaging trend is fruitful, as it enables individuals to identify with a brand’s product. For instance, facial recognition on a Frito-Lay bag helps a consumer to connect with the brand more easily. Promotion strategy such as seeing their favorite NFL team like the Saints or the Pats on a Bud Light surely sells more beer to a football fan. Additionally, when a company presents its package in a story-like way that connects to consumers on an individual level, the product becomes desirable.
Providing product information in a clear and transparent manner is going to be another strong packaging industry trend in 2020. This trend mainly focused on trust and honesty. In present world, where consumers have easy access to information, they are better educating themselves about product choices. And the smart consumers are mainly keen about what their product choices contain and the packaging methods they use. When manufacturers package their product in such a way that makes content information clear, concise and open, it gives trust in the company’s brand name to the customers.
Clean and transparent labeling trend strongly affects the packaging industry’s food sector. For instance, increasing number of U.S. consumers are scanning food packages with their smartphones to know precisely what they contain. Brands have also implementing business strategy according to the clean and transparent trend in 2020 with application of Smart Label. The label code directly connects consumers to a landing page with information about the product. As consumers are likely to purchase a newly introduced food product with clear product information, the clean and transparent labeling trend will remain strong in 2020.
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