Ultra-high Barrier Films: Breaking Barriers in Flexible Packaging

With every aspect of human life becoming smarter and more intelligent, packaging is not too far behind. The perpetual rise in consumer expectations has been influencing a wide-range of industries to prioritize the upgrading process of their products as well as systems to offer an exceptional consumer experience, and the packaging sphere is no exception. As the adoption of flexible packaging is constantly on an upward swing, manufacturers of packaging films are emphasizing on developing new structures and composition to fulfil the increasingly demanding requirements of brand owners and consumers.

In view of this evolutionary landscape, new developments in the packaging industry in general, and the ultra-high barrier films market in particular, Transparency Market Research, in its new study, explores the tailwinds and headwinds of the ultra-high barrier films market, and brings to fore actionable insights to assist market stakeholders in critical decision-making.

ultra high barrier films market key strategies for the future

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Ultra-high Barrier Films Market Evolves with Changing Consumer Behavior

No major advancements were made in the packaging industry until the introduction of plastic in the 1900s, which has brought a sea change to the industry. Rapid expansion of end-use industries, especially food & beverages, has been working in tandem with continuous developments of new packaging materials and barrier films, including those with high moisture barrier (HMB), high speed barrier (HSB), and ultra-high barrier (UHB). The demand for ultra-high barrier films thrived with the growing need for preserving, protecting, and extending the shelf life of processed food and sensitive products. In 2018, the global sales of ultra-high barrier films closed in on US$ 1.2 billion, and the number of manufacturers vying for a share of this lucrative market has been growing over the years.

Although ultra-high barrier films have been successful in fulfilling the consumer quest for convenience, rising intolerance for plastics and the cloud swirling around sustainability in recent years are putting manufactures to the test. In addition, strategic initiatives of market players are highly influenced by rapid advancements in the processed food industry and expansion of e-commerce sites as the modern sales channel.

Manufacturers Shifting Focus Away from Plastics

As flexible packaging takes over traditionally-preferred rigid packaging of food and other products, manufacturers remain inclined towards the production of flexible and barrier films. While the industry-wide prevalence of different forms of plastics continues to work well with product development strategies in the ultra-high barrier films market, key manufacturers are shifting focus on the use of recyclable materials such as aluminum and aluminum oxide to address the rising concerns regarding the harmful impacts of plastic-filled oceans and surroundings.

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The adoption of ultra-high barrier films continues to remain robust across different sectors of the food industry, and is further driven by the penetration of ready-to-eat meals in tune with a surge in the number of working individuals across the globe. With a notable rise in the number of quick service restaurants (QSRs) and their great efforts to deliver an on-the-go experience, manufacturers of ultra-high barrier films are focusing on leveraging the opportunities created across the spectrum of the food industry. Enhancing the barrier properties while minimizing the weight of the films also remains key focus areas of manufacturers.

ultra high barrier films market2

Multimodal Approach to Win in the Ultra-high Barrier Films Market

Focus on Developing Countries

As the packaging industry is witnessing a paradigm shift towards the untapped markets in developing countries, where operating costs are relatively low, ultra-high barrier film manufacturers are eyeing the market opportunities in these countries. A transition from traditional markets to the purchasing of packaged consumer goods in Asia Pacific, led by China and India, accounts for a potential business prospect for key market players. In addition, a wave of small size packaging as opposed to large quantities emerging in the Middle East & African countries, due to reduced consumer spending capacity, is further influencing manufacturers to build effective strategies that align with these situations.

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Innovations to Align with Technological Trends

Product innovations have also been forthcoming with the emergence of modern packaging techniques such as vacuum skin packaging (VSP) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) that use high barrier packaging materials. Additionally, considering the difficulty in recycling and disposing ultra-high barrier films, along with government regulations for enhancing environmental conservation practices, market players are launching products that meet the new standards set by the recycling community. These factors were put forward when Amcor Limited, a key ultra-high barrier films market player, launched its AmLite Ultra Recyclable, a high metal-free barrier laminate that significantly reduces the carbon footprint of packaging. Such strategic moves are likely to set the ball rolling and influence other stakeholders in the market.

The Competitive Landscape

The ultra-high barrier film market shows a high level of fragmentation, with global players such as Toray Plastics (America), Inc., Klöckner Pentaplast Europe GmbH & Co. KG, Amcor Limited, Sealed Air Corporation, and Mondi Group Plc. collectively accounting for 10-15% share of the market.

Taking the nature of the product into consideration, high-quality continues to be an influencing factor, and to acquire a strong position in the market, key players are focused on improving the product quality to retain their customers, while simultaneously increasing sales potential, internationally. The emergence of Asian countries as a lucrative market for packaging materials has also led to the realignment of these strategies.

Green initiatives also remain a key target area of manufacturers, as a change in government rules and regulations for environment, health, and safety pose as a potential threat to market growth. For instance, Toray Plastics (America) is notably engaged in zero-landfill, co-generation plants, and water & energy conservation.

ultra high barrier films market segmentation

The Analyst Viewpoint

Report authors feel that that the ultra-high barrier films market will continue to witness steady growth during the forecast period. Shifting demographic preferences, especially towards sustainability and reducing plastic usage, have brought significant transformation across a wide range of industries. Therefore, players in the ultra-high barrier films market will need to up their recycling processes and offer value-added products. Sensing the potential application of ultra-barrier films in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and chemical industries, manufacturers will need to improve their operating efficiencies, and develop innovative films that deliver high oxygen and high moisture barrier properties.

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report, the growing demand for ultra-high barrier films in the food end-use industry is expected to bolster the growth of the global ultra-high barrier films market during the forecast period of 2019-2027.
  • Revenue generated by the ultra-high barrier films market is estimated to go over US$ 3 Bn in 2019, and is expected to increase at a CAGR of around 5.0% in terms of value throughout the forecast period. 

Ultra-high Barrier Films – Market Dynamics

  • The world is witnessing high demand for ready-to-eat meals and processed food. Such products require premium packaging, which can increase their shelf life and also allure consumers to purchase packaged food. Processed food products are vulnerable to loss of quality after coming in contact with biological, atmospheric, and chemical contaminants. Processed food manufacturers are hence, increasingly seeking solutions to preserve food quality and enhance shelf life.
  • Ultra-high barrier films offer excellent barrier performance, and hence, are witnessing increased demand from the manufactures of modified atmospheric packaging solutions and active packaging solutions that help processed food products extend their shelf life and preserve overall food quality.
  • Ultra-high barrier films are witnessing innovations resulting from product development activities pertaining to packaging material development, packaging design technology, and chemical properties of packaging material. The superior barrier properties of ultra-high barrier films are expected to remain a prominent choice for various packaging applications, and expected to drive the growth of the global ultra-high barrier films market throughout the forecast period.
  • Ultra-high barrier films come with an extensive range of packaging, as well as wrapping colour choices with various sealing properties. These properties of ultra-high barrier films not only provide flexibility in design but also enhance product safety and visibility. For instance, if a consumer is buying any product in a supermarket, the attractive ultra-high barrier film packaging has the potential to immediately grab her/his attention.
  • The glossy, shiny look of ultra-high barrier films helps manufacturers take advantage of product packaging for marketing purposes. Also, its high shelf attractiveness due to its distinct metallic and shiny finish offers an opportunity for brands to stand out. These factors are expected to propel the growth of the global ultra-high barrier films market during the forecast period.
  • Packaging vendors across the globe are attracted by modern packaging techniques such as vacuum skin packaging (VSP), and the benefits associated with them. For instance, VSP offers a clear view of the food product, and therefore, scores high in regards to consumer satisfaction. Moreover, organized players in the packaging industry are rendering food packaging solutions through vacuum skin packaging (VSP).
  • The need for case-ready meals with a single-serve option is comparatively higher across the globe. Thus, various packaging manufacturers are opting for ultra-high barrier films to extend the shelf-life of their products. They are opting for packaging of different food products with this new technology, so that consumers can enjoy their meals over multiple days. These factors are anticipated to fuel the growth of the global ultra-high barrier films market during the forecast period.

Global Ultra-high Barrier Films Market Expected to Expand 1.41X over the Forecast Period

  • Irrespective of the optimistic viewpoint, rising intolerance towards plastic material across the world is expected to hamper the growth of the global ultra-high barrier films market in the coming years. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, and therefore, is not favoured by many countries and organizations.
  • In the last few years, there has been a noticeable rise in the awareness regarding environmental issues. Abrupt changes in regulations could lead to turbulence in the market, which might negatively impact the demand for plastic films. Additionally, the flexible packaging industry is gradually shifting towards alternative solutions instead of using plastic films. This will eventually have a negative impact on the demand for ultra-high barrier films across the globe.

Ultra-high Barrier Films Market – Competition Dashboard

  • Comprehensive profiles of manufacturers of ultra-high barrier films are also included in the report to assess their key product offerings, financials, recent developments, and strategies.
  • Crucial players operating in the global ultra-high barrier films market include Cosmo Films Ltd., Jindal Poly Films Limited, Toray Plastics (America), Inc., ProAmpac LLC, Treofan Group, Amcor Limited, Celplast Metallized Products Limited, Sealed Air Corporation, Mondi Group plc., Winpak Ltd., Coveris Holdings S.A., Taghleef Industries LLC, Ester Industries Ltd., Klöckner Pentaplast Europe GmbH & Co. KG, and ACG Worldwide Private Limited, among others.

Ultra-high Barrier Films Market – Key Developments

  • Manufacturers of ultra-high barrier films are actively engaged in product launches and expansion activities to expand their business segments and explore different markets.
  • In September 2018, Toray Plastics (America) Inc. expanded its films portfolio with the launch of white-pigmented metallized BOPP films. In July 2017, the company launched two ultra-high barrier PET films for extended shelf life and e-Commerce applications.
  • In February 2017, Celplast Metallized Products Ltd installed a new type of metallized facility for producing high barrier material for the packaging and conversion sectors.
  • In the global ultra-high barrier films market report, we have discussed individual strategies, followed by company profiles of the manufacturers of ultra-high barrier films. The ‘Competitive Landscape’ section is included in the ultra-high barrier films market report to provide report audiences with a dashboard view and a company market share analysis of the top manufacturers operating in the global ultra-high barrier films market.

Transparency Market Research recently released a business intelligence report that assesses the impact of the historical and current scenario on the future development of ultra-high barrier films market. The study offers in-depth insights on how the growth avenues of the ultra-high barrier films market will unfold during the period of 2019-2027.

The ultra-high barrier films market report helps readers gauge the multiple dynamics of the ultra-high barrier films market, and provides credible insights that can arm key industry participants with essential facts and figures to take well-informed decisions. TMR’s study also includes key indicator assessment to define the potential growth prospects of the ultra-high barrier films market, along with forecast statistics regarding the progress of the market based on value (US$ million) and volume (tons).

In the ultra-high barrier films market report, readers can avail a detailed taxonomy along with a comprehensive analysis on the competitive landscape of the ultra-high barrier films market. The study profiles incumbent companies as well as new entrants in the ultra-high barrier films market, wherein, new product innovations and strategic initiatives of these players have been detailed.

What are the Key Questions Answered in the Ultra-high Barrier Films Market Report?

The report offers a qualitative and quantitative breakdown of the ultra-high barrier films market, based on an elaborate research on the macro-economic and industry-specific factors influencing market growth. Detailed information featured in the report addresses important questions for companies in the ultra-high barrier films market that will help improve their decision-making processes. Some of these questions include:

  • How is the adoption pattern of ultra-high barrier films expected to evolve in the future?
  • What are the recent trends in the ultra-high barrier films market influencing manufacturers’ business strategies?
  • How is the ultra-high barrier films market expected to perform in developing regions?
  • Which segments of the ultra-high barrier films market will exhibit the most promising growth in the next five years?
  • What is the impact of regulations on the ultra-high barrier films market?
  • What are the business risks and competitive threats in the ultra-high barrier films market?

Research Methodology

To obtain complete information about the development of the ultra-high barrier films market, an extensive market research has been conducted by the analysts. With the help of industry-validated insights gathered through secondary resources and verified by primary resources, analysts could draw a growth roadmap of the ultra-high barrier films market for the assessment period.

Analysts have contacted and interviewed C-level executives, marketing managers, business unit managers, product development managers, and regional officers of companies in the supply chain of the ultra-high barrier films market, along with manufacturers, raw material suppliers, distributors, and key investors. The information gathered through these interviews have contributed to the compilation of the ultra-high barrier films market report.

For secondary research of the ultra-high barrier films market, analysts have referred to company websites, annual and financial reports, government regulations and policies, white papers, and industry association publications. Other secondary resources include the Packaging and Industrial Films Association (PIFA), Packaging & Films Association (PAFA), World Packaging Organization, Packaging Industry Association of India (PIAI), and Flexible Packaging Association.

Ultra-high Barrier Films Market – Segmentation

TMR’s study includes a segment-wise analysis of the ultra-high barrier films market on the basis of material type, packaging format, end use, and region. The report covers an extensive analysis on how the development of the ultra-high barrier films market will be impacted by various dynamics and changing trends associated with these segments.

Material Type

Plastic

  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH)
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC)
  • Polyamide (Nylon)
  • Polylactic Acid
  • Others (PEN, LCD, PS, PVC)

Aluminum

Oxides

  • Aluminum Oxide
  • Silicon Oxide

Others (Micro fibrillated cellulose (MFC))

Packaging Format

Bags

Pouches

  • Retort
  • Non Retort

Tray Lidding Films

Forming Webs

Wrapping Films

Blister Pack Base Webs

End Use

Food

  • Meat, Seafood and Poultry
  • Baby Food
  • Snacks
  • Bakery and Confectionery
  • Pet Food
  • Dairy Food
  • Ready-to-eat Meals
  • Other Food

Beverages

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Non Alcoholic Beverages

Pharmaceuticals

Electronic Devices

Medical Devices

Agriculture

Chemicals

Others

Region

North America

Latin America

Europe

Asia Pacific

Middle East & Africa

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