Study #: 4006 | Published: 11/2020 | Pages: 117 | Individual User License: US$ 2,900

US demand for flat pouches is forecast to rise 2.8% per year to $7.8 billion, or 68.3 billion units. In both all markets, advances will be driven by the ongoing replacement of alternative packaging materials such as rigid containers, bags, and film wrap with flat pouches due to:

  • their light weight, low package-to-product ratio, and ability to be shipped flat – increasingly important features for reducing shipping costs and in light of retailer initiatives to meet certain sustainability guidelines
  • the perception of pouches as a more environmentally friendly packaging option due to the significantly lower volume of raw materials required for their production compared to rigid containers

Additionally, the growing popularity of portioned snacks, meal kits (which use flat pouches to package ingredients such as sauces and seasoning), and frozen foods such as individually portioned breakfast sandwiches packaged in a larger pouch or box, will bolster gains.

Portioned Packaging Trends Fuel Flat Pouch Market Advances

Growing demand for portioned packaging will continue to fuel flat pouch demand:

  • In the leading food and beverage market – which accounted for 75% of flat pouch demand in 2019 – sales will be aided by ongoing trends supporting healthier lifestyles and changing eating habits to include more snacks of smaller sizes consumed throughout the day.
  • Nonfood market advances will be driven by healthy growth in medical and pharmaceutical applications due to FDA regulations requiring unit dose packaging for all drugs dispensed in healthcare facilities. Fast growth in niche nonfood markets such as soaps and cleaning products will boost gains.

Flat pouch demand in processed foods applications – including cooked rice and pasta and wet soups – is expected to register solid advances through 2024, supported by the added convenience (e.g., portability, ability to be microwaved) of flat pouches.

Pillow Pouches Remain Leading Product, While Four-Side Seal Types Post Fastest Gains  

Through 2024, pillow pouches will the most used flat pouches due to their entrenched position in a number of mature food and beverage markets, notably candy and snack foods. Nevertheless, four-side seal pouches are expected to drive advances, accounting for 48% of gains through 2024. Healthy growth in the medical and pharmaceuticals market, the leading application for four-side seal pouches, will be bolstered by FDA regulations requiring unit dose packaging for all drugs dispensed in healthcare facilities.

Sustainability Trends Continue to Drive Conversion to Pouches & Film Innovation

While pouches are increasingly favored for their material and weight reduction advantages compared to alternatives such as rigid containers (particularly glass and metal types), recycling has been a challenge due largely to the multilayer structure of plastic films. As a result, a number of film producers are engineering fully recyclable multilayer films. Other companies continue to develop films from bio-based resins derived from corn or other natural feedstocks. Additional strategies to boost sustainability include the increased use of post-consumer recycled content in pouches.

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