Following some years of falling sales, paper-based containers show a return to growth, led by folding carton performance. The carton’s ability to target both value and premium product positioning ensures its presence in all regions and across a wide range of industries. Food applications will lead the way for paper-based container usage, driven by good performance within sweet biscuits, fruit snacks and snack bars, and savoury snacks, where there is rising demand for value and premium variants.
In 2016 the packaging volume of global retail paper-based containers reached 236 billion units, marking 1.2% growth from 2015, driven by a rise in consumption in all regions but North America.
Folding cartons holds the lion share of paper-based container volumes, with 85% of global volume. While basic products such as rice, tea, bar soap and toothpaste will hold the majority of volumes, premium snacks and alcoholic drinks are set to be the main categories driving growth. Furthermore, despite holding much lower volumes than the latter, composite containers and bag-in-box are also expected to drive up growth of paper-based containers through snacks and wine, respectively.
Despite holding the largest volumes for paper-based containers, China, India and Brazil are also forecast to be strong contributors to onward growth. This is because while there is still demand for staple products such as rice, soap and toothpaste from countries’ rural areas, the improved purchased power in urban areas ensures that demand for premium products such as snacks and dishwashing powder also grows.
Snacking on the go will remain one the main trends shaping the global food industry. Folding cartons’ ability to cater to any pack size and pricing strategy, and composite containers’ strong demand in savoury snacks, will profit from such trends. Board tubs, meanwhile, are set to suffer as demand for instant noodles and sugary ice creams falls.
Flexible packaging is paper-based containers’ main competitor across all industries. This is because flexible packaging lends itself to a vast array of product categories due to its ability to cater to both wet and dry food.
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