2019 Market Trends Series: Consumer Demands Driving Growth and Change for Film & Flexible Packaging

January 17, 2019 • Posted in Market Insights

In this installment of “2019 Market Trends: What’s Next for Plastics?”, our Market Manager for Film & Flexible Packaging, Frank LaRocque, discusses the growth the film & flexible packaging market experienced in 2018, continuing market merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, the increasing need for packaging materials driven by e-commerce, and consumers’ increasing desire for sustainable and on-the-go packaging. Here is what Frank had to say:

“2018 was an exciting year for the M. Holland film & flexible packaging portfolio. We realized good growth year-over-year in many areas of our business. 2019 is shaping up to be another great year, with plenty of opportunity for growth as we expect many of the trends we saw in 2018 to continue.

First, ‘the big are getting bigger’ was a major trend in both 2017 and 2018 as M&A activity was very high within the film market. We expect to see this again in 2019, but at a slower rate, as this trend appears to be cooling off due to rising interest rates.

Second, our clients and prospective clients, buoyed by new opportunities and demands, continue to add extrusion, printing, and converting capacity at a rapid pace. Increased demand for packaging in North America (NA) stems not only from changing consumer demands, but also from the relatively low cost of resin in NA. The advent of shale gas has made NA polyethylene one of the lowest cost resins to produce in the world. As a result, we see fewer packaging imports from outside America. From a consumer standpoint, on-the-run lifestyles and smaller family sizes are driving more food packaging into smaller, ready-to-eat packaging.

Third, e-commerce is here to stay and is changing the way consumers shop. But sustainability remains top of mind for consumers and is driving resin suppliers and film manufacturers to come up with innovative solutions. Consumers can get almost anything delivered within a day or two to their front door. This is driving substantial growth for protective packaging, including shrink wrap, bubble wrap, and pillow packs. However, the consumers of today are also more environmentally conscious than in the past, and they are demanding that packaging be as sustainable as possible. Both resin suppliers and film manufacturers are working hard to find new ways to formulate structures and select the right materials to reduce the amount of packaging used, with the intent for more of it to be recycled and reused. Sustainability has always been important in the film & flexible packaging industry, but more than ever it is becoming a front-burner issue for 2019 and beyond.“

Plastic Resin Distributor M. Holland Frank LaRocque – Authored by Frank LaRocque, Market Manager, Film & Flexible Packaging

In our next installment of the 2019 Market Trend Series, we will be hearing from M. Holland’s Market Manager for Wire & Cable, Todd Waddle. Stay tuned and check back in for more, including our final market outlook from our rotational molding and color and compounding market managers.

What are you most excited about for plastics and the film & flexible packaging market in 2019? Let us know on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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