Global Packaging Industry Outlook
In the years to come, sustainable packaging may no longer be viewed as an oxymoron. Packaging companies are embracing “green” techniques in manufacturing processes, accepting sustainability as a part of solution, rather than a problem. Apart from government initiatives and stringy industrial regulations, customers are also putting pressure on packaging companies to reduce content of non-biodegradable materials in their packaging products – a measure commonly known as down gauging. Urbanization can play a pivotal role in instrumenting the growth in adoption of sustainable packaging practices. Rising concentration of customer base in urban cities is propelling the awareness towards green packaging. Leading brands in the packaging sector are making more environmental choices, and are understanding that consumers’ inclination towards sustainability can render cost-savings to manufacturers and deliver tangible profits.
As the global plastic production increases at a rapid pace, packaging companies realize the need for new, smarter materials that will not swamp our oceans and stuff-up our landfills. Materials with wider range of properties are being tested for their flexibility across multiple packaging applications. Short, one-use life cycle of plastic as packaging material, is also observed to drive the demand for sustainable alternatives. Packaging for food & beverage products is witnessing an uptick in adoption of edible films & wraps made from organic starch. Some players in the sector have pioneered the use of agar as packaging alternative to bubble wrap or foam materials. Biopolymers are also making foray into packaging as alternatives to unrecyclable plastic materials.
When supply is constrained in the face of high demand, key feedstock suppliers in the packaging sector, who are often large global producers, may pass on increased commodity costs to packaging manufacturers. Packaging companies, observed as “converters” in the materials industry, are currently in a potentially vulnerable position in the value chain since they engage in converting these raw materials into value-added packaging products. It is important for packaging businesses to regulate the stability of their input raw material costs. Due to undulating feedstock costs & fluctuating raw material prices, many packagers transfer the raw material price inflation to customers, as much as possible. In terms of procurement, several players in the packaging sector tend to balance the security of raw material supply contracts with their needs assessment.
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