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Innovation and emerging markets will create demand

In a new study, PCI Films Consulting has identified 13 emerging flexible packaging markets – Poland, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa. Collectively, these markets, valued at US$14 billion, have grown by almost 70% since 2006 and now account for 20% of total world demand.

One of the key findings is that although a number of these emerging markets have been affected by the global economic downturn, they have weathered the crisis well, with demand growth averaging almost 11% per annum since 2006.

The major driving forces in flexible packaging demand within these emerging markets include strong GDP growth, high population growth, liberalisation in a number of markets, continued urbanisation and the development of mass retailing. In addition, changing consumer lifestyles and increasing disposable incomes have encouraged the development of new convenient packaged food and non-food products.

Strong, sustained growth over the next few years will see these markets offering many investment opportunities for all involved across the flexible packaging supply chain. This is particularly the case in terms of building converter expertise in the faster growing added-value sectors, such as high barrier films and retort pouches.

In this issue we feature some of the exciting technical innovations in films that will offer consumer goods producers increasing levels of functionality, beyond barrier properties. For instance, a film that allows greasy, breaded or bread-like foods to be prepared in the microwave by absorbing both moisture and grease so that they turn crisp and tasty.

And, with sustainability and lightweighting high on most people’s agenda, there is a new foaming process that produces a film of the same thickness and with the same protective qualities as conventional flexible packaging film, but weighs up to 40% less. Plus printed electronics specialists are developing a new category of intelligent packaging that collects and wirelessly communicates sensor information (see Features section).

So there are clearly great opportunities for those in the flexibles sector to gain an even bigger slice of the packaging cake – and in more markets around the world.

Felicity Murray,