22nd September. Posted in Uncategorised.

Globally, companies are starting to demand innovative and distinctive packaging products and solutions. One region showing exceptional growth for flexible packaging is Asia-Pacific, where key drivers such as an increased per capita income, health consciousness, and changing lifestyle patterns are now being reflected on-shelf in new packaging designs.

Market research company, Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence¹, indicates that in Asia the average consumer’s hectic work cycle has an impact on packaging design – inducing demand for ergonomic and easy-to-use packaged food & beverage products. Other considerations include the prevalence of new lightweight materials, lower production costs, and ease of transport. These factors all reduce the overall operating costs for manufacturers, which encourages increased adoption of novel packaging solutions.

Another market trend that cannot be ignored in the region is online shopping – especially given the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As online consumer spending increases, brand owners are playing catch up to manufacture innovative products within the flexible packaging category that will cater to this new style of shopper.

Another perspective from market research company Mordor Intelligence² indicates the increase in single-person households in Asia, along with changing consumer preferences and rapid population ageing, are also aiding growth. Single-person households now represent the largest consumer group. These consumers are demanding single-value pack sizes and convenient packaging designs. In particular, demand for on-the-go food and snack items is increasing. Brands are therefore constantly seeking to introduce smaller-sized packaging, as well as lightweight and flexible packaging, as a solution to this expanding demographic.

Technology Benefits

Technological advancements and innovations in the flexible packaging industry offer many environmental-friendly benefits for brands including the reduced use of plastics through materials minimisation, the ability to incorporate sustainable raw materials, and reduced waste in the distribution chain through extended shelf life and protect protection.

Moreover, well designed flexible packaging generates fewer greenhouse emissions and contributes less to landfill waste against other packaging formats.

The Natural Resources Defense Council in the US states that when compared to traditional packaging types, the sustainability benefits of flexible packaging really stand out. For example, a rigid polyethylene terephthalate (‘PET’) container for laundry detergent pods emits 726 percent more greenhouse gases than a flexible pouch with zipper; a steel can for packaging coffee consumes 1,605 percent more water in production than a flexible pouch; and 31 percent more thermoformed tubs for baby food packaging ends up in a landfill compared to that of a flexible pouch with fitment. Results of environmental cases studies on a variety of packaging types and products show that flexible packaging, when compared to other packaging formats, has preferable environmental attributes for carbon impact, fossil fuel usage, water usage, product to package ratio, and material to landfill.

It’s clear that the market for flexible packaging shows tremendous growth in Asia and is a preferred option by both consumers and producers, owing to its advantages over rigid packaging formats. One of the most significant benefits for brands and retailers is the reduced weight of the packaging, which results in reduced shipping and warehousing costs, while simultaneously creating more space on store shelves and lowering the overall carbon footprint of the product.

Hygienic packaging solutions, in demand since the advent of the pandemic, are also reinforcing the popularity of flexible packaging. For the consumer, the fact that flexible packaging can be resealed to keep goods fresh, and can be recyclable and compostable, makes it an attractive purchase.

Differentiated solutions

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Parkside Flexibles is a firm believer in sustainability and the packaging it creates meets a variety of environmental objectives. The Parkside sustainable packaging portfolio comprises a range of recyclable, renewable, re-closable and compostable solutions. This platform of technologies shows that sustainable and future-proof packaging doesn’t need to come at the expense of performance or cost.

Offering a wide range of plastic and paper flexible laminate specifications, the portfolio is suitable for a range of applications including snacks, fruit and vegetables, confectionery and coffee, as well as ambient, chilled and frozen categories. Over eight years of research and development has led to the creation of an enticing suite of sustainable solutions that enable brands to meet legislative guidelines.

One of the innovative products within this portfolio is Park2Nature™, a compostable flexible packaging range, fully tested and designed to meet the specific needs of the product to be packed. Parkside offers a wide range of compostable flexible laminate specifications to meet the needs of a number of product categories matching the functional performance of standard flexible packaging designs.

Importantly, Parkside has secured official confirmation that packs fully break down in a range of conditions and timeframes suitable for both industrial and home composting environments, gaining full accreditation from TUV (formerly Vincotte). The packaging is also made from a bio-based paper and metallised Natureflex material, which provides excellent oxygen and moisture barriers to extend the shelf life of the food product, whilst maintaining optimum flavour.

Plastic waste has captured the attention of the consumer, local governments and businesses across the globe. It is vital to move away from the take-make-waste model and significantly rethink the way we design, use and reuse plastics. Moving forward, we must strive towards a circular economy where plastic packaging never becomes waste or pollution. In response, Parkside has also created a range of recyclable flexible packaging solutions under Recoflex branding, ready for when Asia’s recycling infrastructure expands.

The future of flexible packaging

Innovative products catering for consumer requirements can be developed more cost effectively utilising flexible packaging. The format also keeps goods fresh and is suitable for a range of applications including snacks, fruit and vegetables, confectionery and coffee, as well as ambient, chilled and frozen categories. At the same time by incorporating key substrates, it becomes more environmentally friendly, catering for the circular economy, and beneficial for people and the planet.

References

¹https://www.knowledge-sourcing.com/report/asia-pacific-flexible-packaging-market

²https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/asia-pacific-flexible-packaging-market-industry

³The Natural Resources Defense Council is a United States-based 501c non-profit international environmental advocacy group, with its headquarters in New York City.