Plastics for Barrier Packaging
- The U.S. packaging barrier resin market reached 8 billion pounds in 2007. It is expected to reach 10.7 billion pounds by the end of 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%.
- The largest market for barrier packaging is food and beverage packaging, which accounts for more than 95% of applications in the U.S.
- Other important markets include chemical/industrial products packaging and healthcare products packaging.
This report is an update of a BCC report on this subject by the same author, published in June 2005 and completed some months before that date. In this update, we have reevaluated the entire subject, introduced some new barrier packaging concepts and products that have appeared in the intervening period, and have updated and polished our market analyses, estimates, and forecasts for 5 additional years into the future.
Despite the fact that much of the basic technology of barrier plastics is the same, we found that progress continues to have been made in the years since the last BCC report on this subject. On the other hand, some relatively "hot" projects and subjects featured in the last report appear to have become less positive. This appears to be especially true with plastic packaging for beer, which was the subject of considerable attention in the last report, with several new technologies unveiled and promoted. Beer is a very difficult product to package because of its high sensitivity to rapid taste degradation from exposure to oxygen. At this time, at least in the United States, barrier polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beer bottles have not shown that they can give the shelf life that glass and aluminum can provide, except for short shelf life beer for sports events and the like.
Others developments prominently featured in the last report, such as increasingly more sophisticated multilayer barrier packaging structures and controlled/modified atmosphere packaging for fresh produce and other fresh foods, continue to grow in importance and usage, and these fields are updated here.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report contains:
- Descriptions of various barrier resins including EVOH, PCTFE, fluoropolymer, nitrile copolymers, nylons, thermoplastic polyesters, PVdC, tie-layer resins and vapor-permeable films.
- The current market status for plastics for barrier packaging, with trends and forecasts for growth over the next 5 years
- Technological issues including the latest trends and a thorough patent analysis
- Discussion of environmental, regulatory and public policy issues that affect barrier plastic packaging
- Analysis of international aspects of the barrier resin industry, including foreign-owned supply companies operating in the United States.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
Extensive searches were made of the literature and the Internet, including many of the leading trade publications as well as technical compendia and government publications. Much product and market information was obtained, whenever possible, from principals involved in the industry. Information for our corporate profiles was obtained primarily from the companies, especially larger, publicly owned firms. Other sources included directories, articles, and Internet sites.
Dr. Charles Forman has over 50 years of chemical engineering and business experience in private business, the healthcare industry and at a major not-for-profit educational association. He is an expert on the worldwide chemical process industries, with specialization in healthcare, petroleum and petrochemicals, specialty and agrichemicals, plastics, and packaging. He has written many market research reports for BCC Research on subjects including polymers and plastic packaging, petroleum processing, healthcare policy and products, food and feed additives, chemicals/petrochemicals/specialty chemicals, pesticides, and biotechnology.
The barrier plastic packaging industry in the U.S. amounted to about 5.8 billion pounds in 2004 and should rise at an overall 8.1% average annual growth rate (AAGR) to about 8.6 billion pounds in 2009.
Barrier resins make up nearly 89% of the market and will continue to do so through 2009.
Permeable films will grow only slightly faster than barrier resins and will represent a 759 million pound market in 2009.
Tie layer resins (adhesive resins used to bond dissimilar resins together) will rise at an AAGR of only 5.5% over the period to just over 200 million pounds.
The barrier plastic packaging industry in the United States is a large business. Its size is, in large part, determined by how one defines "barrier" and therefore what resin products and packaging structures are included in the scope of the analysis. We define a barrier resin as one that has low permeation to the most important gases that can penetrate and damage a packaged product. These gases primarily are oxygen and water vapor. We also include the important thermoplastic polyester, PET, because of its extensive use both as a barrier bottle resin for carbonated and other beverages and as a secondary barrier and structural substrate for many other barrier films. PET also is receiving more attention and gaining increased importance for packaging of beer in new higher barrier PET structures.
The total U.S. market amounted to almost four billion pounds in our base year of 1999, and will grow at an overall 9.4% AAGR for all barrier resins to more than six billion pounds over the next five years to the forecast year 2004. The value of this market, in constant 1995 dollars at bulk resin prices at the manufacturer level, increases from almost $2.8 billion to $4.3 billion.
Ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymers: EVOH is the highest oxygen barrier resin now produced. BCC estimates that about 64 million pounds was used in the U.S. in base year 1999, and BCC forecasts growth at an AAGR of 11% to 108 million pounds in 2004. Most EVOH is used in the U.S. for food packaging (53 million pounds in 1999), with smaller and growing barrier markets for automotive fuel tanks and healthcare packaging.