Currently, rigid packaging is increasingly being replaced by flexible packaging because flexible packaging offers the benefits of lower cost and flexibility. Stand-up pouches and re-closable packs offer merchandise advantages to Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). According to Frost & Sullivan, a consultant and globally growing support company found that the Southeast Asian flexible packaging market earned revenue of over 1.41 billion dollars in 2008 and estimates the market to reach 2.2 billion dollars in 2015 due to the robust growth in the food processing and export industry. The countries covered in this survey report were Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Mr. Sushmita Mahajan, an Analyst from Frost & Sullivan, had given his opinion that the food processing industry in Southeast Asia had been growing tremendously. Consequently rising in packaging demand, the growth had likely been driven by consumer’s modern lifestyle and a shift of traditional food consumption behavior. Many multinational corporations, which are food processing manufacturers, have established their production base in Southeast Asia and have chosen to use packaging from these regional countries which aids the expansion of the packaging industry.
Flexible pouches with re-sealable closures consume lower energy and emit less greenhouse gas than rigid packaging. Several other advantages shown are to reduce production costs, transportation costs, solid waste generation, and to consumer 17% less energy than rigid packaging. All of the factors have contributed to flexible packaging growth.
Raw Material Prices Remain a Primary Concern for Packaging in Asia
Packaging manufacturers have been faced with several challenging problems including volatile pricing in which packaging manufacturers can not pass production costs onto food processing manufacturers due to fierce competition in the packaging industry. Another compelling concern is an environmental effect, a frequently discussed topic related to plastic packaging. Plastic packaging is non-biodegradable and contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. Even though plastics in package processing can be recycled, it is difficult to categorize plastic layered types particularly multi-layer film packaging that is hard to separate in order to be used in recycled processing. Bio-plastics have been increasingly used in general; however, specifically in Southeast Asia, they are being perceived as a niche market while high production costs and performance issues are hindering the market’s expansion.
“Environmental concerns have become an issue convincing people to switch to use green products. Advanced technology and enhanced consumer education have been part of the factors for Southeast Asia consumers to be more widely accepting in the use of Bio-plastics” according to Mr.Mahajan.