Some of the most prominent players competing in the global packaging barrier films market are Shako Flexipack, Sealed Air, Krehalon UK, Amcor, Prairie State Group, American Pouch, Oliver-Tolas Healthcare Packaging, BERNHARDT Packaging & Process, Bemis, HPM Global, The Vacuum Pouch, Flair Flexible Packaging Corporation, and ClearBags.
Over the last decade or so, rigid packaging formats have given way to flexible packaging and barrier films owing to various technology and consumer trends. Packaging barrier films are flexible films used mostly as suitable substitutes for food packaging. These films reduce the need for preservatives, serve as a printing substrate, and increase the shelf life of the product. Despite being costlier than conventional packaging solutions, packaging barrier films have been witnessing increased demand, especially from the food and beverages sector, owing to their ability to prevent oxygenation and thereby stop the degradation of contents.
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The global market for packaging barrier films covers four main regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. The key technologies used in packaging barrier films include multi-layer films, polymer nanocomposites, sustainable barrier coatings, organically modified ceramics (ORMOCERs), Besela barrier films, and melamine-based barrier coatings. The key product types of packaging barrier films are stand-up pouches, bags and pouches, forming webs, tray lidding film, blister packs, and wrapping films. The leading applications of packaging barrier films include retort convenience foods, fresh foods, processed chilled foods, dried foods, cheese, snacks and confectionaries, drinks, baked goods, personal care and cosmetics, and medicines and pharmaceuticals.
The materials used in packaging barrier films include polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), aluminium oxide (AlOx), ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), transparent high-barrier films, silicon oxide (SiOx), cast polypropylene (CPP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), organic liquid coatings, cyclic olefin copolymer (COC), biaxially oriented polyamide (BOPA), high-barrier coatings, metalized films, polyacrylonitrile (PAN), inorganic vapor deposition high-barrier coatings, polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE), biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP), and biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BoPET).
One of the most significant factors driving the global packaging barrier films market is the surging demand for packaging materials that can lend improved protection to their contents. This is noticeable especially in the pharmaceutical and food and beverages industries. Growing concerns regarding the ability of plastics to allow the exchange of vapors and gases that threaten to compromise the safety and quality of packaged products have also had a tremendous impact on the packaging barrier films market. The market for stand-up pouches is driven by not just their replacement of glass and plastic bottles and cans but also due to their ability to minimize packaging costs and, at the same time, providing better convenience to consumers.
Moreover, stand-up pouches have lower material use and are lighter than conventional rigid containers. Another factor contributing toward the demand for packaging barrier films is the busy lifestyle of consumers and a consequent demand for convenient products and microwave cooking. This trend has resulted in the demand for ready-to-eat meals packed in stand-up pouches and trays. The packaging barrier films market also benefits from the rising share of large retail chains in economically developed countries.
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In contrast, the packaging barrier films market is restricted by factors such as recycling problems, susceptibility to degradation, and increased costs. Mechanical recycling is a problem that continues to hamper the growth of the market since a number of multilayered packaging barrier film structures contain more than one type of plastic.
Among the four regional segments, Europe dominates the worldwide market for packaging barrier films both in terms of production and demand. Asia Pacific and South America present lucrative opportunities for growth owing to the spread of domestic hypermarkets and supermarkets in several major cities. A number of large international retail chains have been setting up shop in the developing countries of Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, and South America, which have been dominated traditionally by local and independent artisan stores.