Global bioplastics for packaging consumption is projected to reach $5.9 billion by 2020

Global bioplastics for packaging consumption is projected to reach 787,000 tonnes in 2015 and a market value of $2.4 billion, according to a new market study by Smithers Pira.

Global consumption is forecast to grow during the period 2015–20 at a CAGR of 21% to just over 2 million tonnes with a market value of almost $5.9 billion (2014 prices). The market for bioplastic packaging currently represents less than 1% of global plastic packaging sales. Bioplastic packaging is, however, forecast to grow at a significantly higher rate than petro-based polymers during the five-year period to 2020.

Based on primary research and expert analysis, The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2020 examines global market trends for bioplastic packaging for the period 2010–15. Market forecasts for the period 2015–20 are presented by bioplastic product, end use sector and geographic region.

There is an increased focus on sustainable packaging by brand owners and retail companies and this is driving market demand for bioplastic packaging, according to the study’s findings. Other market drivers include the availability of new capacities to boost supply and the development of ‘drop-in’ bio-based solutions. Furthermore, there is global increase in the implementation of plastic bag bans, which will benefit demand for biodegradable and compostable plastics. However, despite the advancements that have been made in bioplastics for packaging in recent years, there are still drawbacks that could prevent the wider commercialisation of bio-based polymers in many food and beverage packaging applications. These include the high relative cost of bioplastics compared with petro-plastics, availability of raw materials, as well as issues of performance, quality/consistency and density.  

Europe is the largest regional market for bioplastic packaging, with close to one-third of world consumption in 2015. While North America trails behind in terms of bioplastic packaging consumption, government and consumer attitudes are changing: North America, Asia and South & Central America are forecast to show higher growth rates than Europe for bioplastic packaging over the forecast period, according to the report.

Figure 1 Global bioplastics for packaging consumption, projected percentage share by region, 2015

Source: Smithers Pira

Smithers Pira predicts that Asia will expand its role as the major bioplastic production hub over the forecast period, as projects are being implemented in Thailand, India and China. Over three-quarters of bioplastics will be produced in Asia by 2020. In comparison, Europe is at the forefront of research and development but will account for less than 10% of bioplastic production capacity and a diminishing share of bioplastic packaging consumption by 2020.  

The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2020 is available now for £4,200. For more information, please contact Bill Allen at +44 (0)1372 802086, or via e-mail at ballen@smithers.com.