Plastics for Barrier Packaging

Jan 2012| PLS014F| BCC Publishing

Report Highlights

The U.S. barrier packaging market totaled 8.1 billion lbs in 2011 and should grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5% over the next five years reaching 8.7 billion lbs in 2016.


This BCC Research study provides in-depth coverage of many of the most important technological, economic, political, and environmental considerations in the U.S. barrier packaging polymer industry.  It primarily is a study of U.S. markets.  But because of the increasingly global nature of polymer and packaging chemistry it touches on some noteworthy international activities, primarily those having an impact on the U.S. market, such as imports/exports and foreign firms operating in this country.

We analyze and forecast market estimates for barrier packaging plastic resins in volume in pounds.  Our base market estimate year is 2011, and we forecast market growth for a five-year period to 2016.  All market figures are rounded to the nearest million pounds and all growth rates are compounded (signified as compound annual growth rates, or CAGRs).  Because of this rounding, some growth rates may not agree exactly with figures in the market tables; this is especially so with small volumes and their differences.  All market volumes are at the manufacturer or producer level.

This report is segmented into nine chapters, of which this introduction is the first.

The Summary encapsulates our findings and conclusions, and includes a summary table that summarizes the major barrier packaging resins.  It is the place where busy executives can find key elements of the study in summary format.

An Overview follows, starting with an introduction to the petrochemical industry, the source of all these barrier packaging polymers.  Then we discuss the plastic resin industries and focus on barrier packaging.  We conclude with a discussion of barrier packaging materials and structures, with emphasis on plastic barrier resins.  Our intent is to introduce readers to the field of polymers, barrier packaging, and barrier packaging resins.

The next chapter is the first of two devoted to market analysis.  Here, we discuss, estimate, and forecast markets for barrier packaging plastics by major resin type or class.  This discussion includes some major commodity resins, such as polyolefins, that find use as structural packaging resins; however, since these are not primarily barrier resins (and thus outside our scope) we do not attempt to estimate their wide and diffuse markets.  We start this chapter with an overall market estimate and forecast for the major types of barrier packaging resins, for base year 2011 and forecast year 2016.  Then, in each section and subsection, we describe individual barrier resin types in more detail, discuss their important applications in barrier packaging, and estimate and forecast their markets in greater detail.  The types of barrier resins that we cover and forecast include EVOH, polychlorotrifluoroethylene (PCTFE) fluoropolymer, nitrile (AN-MA) copolymers, nylons, thermoplastic (TP) polyesters, PVdC, tie-layer resins, and vapor-permeable films.

Our discussion and market analysis of vapor-permeable barrier resins and systems is included as an interesting sidelight to barrier resin chemistry, since the very term “vapor-permeable barrier” sounds like an oxymoron.  These structures are designed for selective permeation, meaning the some gases should pass through the structure but others should not.

In this “markets by resin type” chapter we also discuss some newer and more experimental or developmental barrier materials and systems, but do not try market analyses since these products still are experimental or their markets too low and/or diffuse.

The next chapter discusses and forecasts markets by barrier resin applications.  We have placed applications into three specific major groups: food (by far the largest segment), chemical and industrial products, and healthcare products packaging.

The next chapter is devoted to technology, starting with some basic plastic resin chemistry, manufacture, and properties of plastics used in barrier packaging.  Next, we go to polymerization technologies.  We then cover other important aspects of polymer technology including fabrication of rigid and flexible structures, polymer orientation, barrier technology, some competing barrier materials, food processing and packaging and additional new developments in barrier packaging.  One of the most important more recent developments has been work on ways to increase the barrier properties of PET, primarily the attempt to develop a really good PET-based barrier plastic beer bottle.

The next chapter covers the barrier packaging resin industry structure, with emphasis on major domestic producers and suppliers, horizontal and vertical integration, market and product entry and differentiation factors, and other topics.  Compounders, converters, and molders are important links in the plastics production chain.  We briefly discuss and analyze some international aspects of the barrier resin business, including its global nature, major foreign-owned supplier companies that operate in the United States, and imports and exports.

The next chapter is devoted to some environmental, regulatory, and public policy issues that affect barrier plastic packaging.  These include waste disposal and recycling, federal laws and regulations, and the all-important public perceptions of plastics and plastic packaging.

Our last narrative chapter consists of profiles of many supplier companies that BCC Research considers to be among the most important and/or best representatives of this business.

The Appendix is a glossary of some important terms, abbreviations, acronyms, etc. used in the chemical, polymer, and packaging industries.

We note again that some topics and materials covered in the text of this report are not included in our market estimate and forecast tables.  We include these topics and materials for completeness.  However, they either are really outside the market scope of this study (such as natural film, cellophane, and some oxygen scavengers), too new to have yet developed a measurable commercial market (such as some nonpolymeric barrier coatings and films), or whose markets are too large and diffuse to forecast the barrier segment with any certainty (such as the use of polyolefins in barrier packaging as structural and secondary barriers).  We include these materials and concepts to give the reader as complete coverage as possible, not only of new developments in barrier packaging plastics, but also other materials than can extend shelf life and/or otherwise affect markets for barrier resins.

For consistency in style and format, registered trade names are usually indicated by capitalizing the initial letter of the name; generic names are lowercase.  Because many chemical names are long and complicated, we often use abbreviations, acronyms, or chemical formulae.  Many of these, such as HDPE, PVC, PVdC, PCTFE, etc., represent common polymers.

All chemical elements and compounds can be designated by chemical symbols and formulae.  After introducing the element or compound, we often use symbols such as HCl for hydrochloric acid or hydrogen chloride.  Our glossary at the end of this report contains definitions and explanations of many of the most important abbreviations and acronyms.

Analyst Credentials

Dr. J. Charles Forman has been a research analyst for BCC Research covering polymers and chemicals for more than two decades. His work in the industry includes 21 years at Abbott Laboratories in R&D and manufacturing management. Dr. Forman has researched and written more than 70 multi-client market research reports on a variety of subjects, ranging from building construction materials and spectroscopy to several studies on plastic packaging. He holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University, all in chemical engineering. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).

Table of Contents & Pricing

All reports provided in PDF format. For shared licensing options (5+ Users), please call a representative at (+1) 781-489-7301 or contact us at
Title/Chapter NamePagesPrice Member Price
Full Report: Plastics for Barrier Packaging367 $2,750 Free
Chapter- 1: INTRODUCTION12Free
Chapter- 2: SUMMARY3$250Free
Chapter- 3: OVERVIEW40$300Free
Chapter- 6: TECHNOLOGY89$667Free
Chapter- 9: COMPANY PROFILES65$487Free
Published - Feb-2008| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - PLS014E

Report Highlights

  • 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.
Published - Jun-2005| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - PLS014D

Report Highlights

  • 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.
Published - Sep-2000| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - PLS014C

Report Highlights

  • 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.

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