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Europe: Flexible packaging to outdo traditional materials, finds report

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The global flexible food packaging market for retail packed food is set to reach close to 800 billion pack units in 2018, as consumers start to favor innovative products such as pouches over traditional glass, paper and metal packaging, finds a Canadean report.

It states that about 786,095 million units of flexible packaging will be consumed within global retail food markets in 2018.

This means flexible packaging is set to expand its share in the food packaging market even further, reaching 53.1% in the next three years.

While glass, metal and paper packaging are slowly falling out of fashion, innovative flexible packaging such as pouches is becoming more popular.

The report finds that the global demand for pouches in the food market will grow by 2,489 million pack units between 2014 and 2017 – a 14.9% increase in the total food pouches market size.

Metal, on the other hand, will record the slowest growth in the food packaging market, increasing at a marginal compound annual growth rate of 2.5% between 2013 and 2018.

Microwavable pouches to replace tinned products

“Pouches are both lightweight and durable, meaning products can be stored more easily in cupboards, are less likely to get damaged and are lighter to transport. They also provide time-scarce consumers with instant meals and on-the-go snacks,” says analyst Kirsty Nolan.

Microwavable pouches, for example, are on the verge of replacing tinned ready-meal products.

“The outer plastic layers of microwavable pouches are designed to cool quickly while keeping contents hot, allowing consumers to eat straight from the microwave,” she says.

Campbell is one of the manufacturers that is already capitalizing on this trend.

The recently released ‘Go Soup’ pouches target the younger, time-scarce generation of food lovers.

“The flavors were specifically designed to appeal to more adventurous palettes and the packaging was introduced to compliment the product with a greater volume,” says Nolan.

“The packaging also features a transparent bottom, which allows consumers to assess the contents and its ingredients before purchase.”

Canadean says pouches are growing so strongly in the packaging market because they:

• Reduce costs with lightweight, thin plastic walls and no outer packaging,

• Feature easy-to-open and re-sealable grooves or zips,

• Minimize waste through sustainable and biodegradable material, and

• Improve the shelf-life of the product though multiple plastic layers.