Flexible packaging has now surpassed rigid to become users’ second choice with a 17% share of the market reports Rohm and Haas marketing manager Bill Magee. Corrugated continues to be the largest segment in the packaging market.

Mr Magee, who was speaking at the recent biannual converting machinery/materials conference and exposition in Chicago, says:

“If flexible packaging continues the admirable 4% annual growth rate posted over the past five years, the days of box dominance may be numbered.

“Now a global market worth $70bn, flexible packaging is popular the world over though Western Europe and North America lead with shares of 28% and 27% of the market, respectively.

New flexible packaging is easily outpacing the growth of every other type of packaging.

“A sharp jump in flexible packaging patents since 1997 provides more evidence that a long march has started.

“Much flexible packaging research and development focuses on specific payoffs like controlling production costs, downgauging, light-weighting, upgrading barrier properties and strength, reducing environmental impacts and enhancing aesthetics.”

In the UK, industry analyst Plimsoll Publishing has managed to divert its attentions away from the labelling sector to launch its own market analysis of the flexible and plastics packaging industry.

Senior analyst David Pattison says: “The aim of this 251-page analysis, covering 186 companies, is to give a better understanding of the different management styles that make up the industry.”

The Plimsoll model simplifies up to four years of audited company accounts and allows, through a series of seven charts for every company, an immediate understanding of the character of a company.

This method of analysis works equally well on every one of the 186 companies in the analysis, including the 90 companies presented with full accounts and the 96 companies with partial accounts.

Copies of the analysis, Flexible & Plastic Packaging, are available from Plimsoll, price £305, by telephoning the firm on 01642 626400 [www.plimsoll.co.uk] Readers of Packaging Today International will receive a 5% discount when ordering.