Cost and convenience to drive expansion in pouch packaging demand to 2021

Global pouch packaging consumption is projected at just over 324 billion units in 2016. It is forecast to grow during the period 2016–2021 at an annual rate of 4.7% to 407 billion units.

The Future of Pouch Packaging to 2021 analyses the advantages pouches have that are enabling them to replace conventional packaging, such as glass bottles and metal tins. These advantages include:

  • Reduced retort and sterilisation time
  • Energy saving and better preservation of taste and nutrition quality
  • Bill of materials savings
  • Lighter weight leading to reduced logistics costs and emissions
  • Better durability
  • Better shelf appeal: full front image; rotogravure quality printing and improving print quality
  • Reduced cost as separate labelling stock is eliminated
  • Improved customer experience via easy opening, resealable and reclosable features.

There is mounting public pressure on brand owners and retailers to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. Food and beverage manufacturers are responding to consumers’ environmental concerns by reducing the amount of polymers used, which lowers the pack weight, without impairing pack performance. Flexible plastic packaging like pouches requires significantly less energy to transport products than metal and glass.

David Platt report author

Consumer demand for products with longer shelf life and higher quality has led to development of increasingly sophisticated multilayer laminated pouch films. Multilayer films do however have implications, with additional layers increasing the thickness and cost of packaging materials, and also affecting their recyclability. Recycling becomes a problem with multi-material structures containing more than one type of plastic, as they cannot easily be separated and recycled. New recyclable solutions are now becoming commercially available.

The global pouch packaging market value is projected at $15.06 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow during the period 2016–2021 at an annual rate of 4.6% to $18.90 billion. Technology developments are supporting pouch market growth as pouch equipment manufacturers are delivering machinery capable of faster production speeds, greater versatility and improved sealing, which elevates the competitive position of pouches compared to alternative rigid pack formats.

The Future of Pouch Packaging to 2021 report is supported by an extensive programme of desk research based on many information sources; interviews with pouch packaging suppliers, producers and machinery manufacturers; Smithers Pira’s database of trends and market information; company websites and annual reports; market reports and official government statistics.


The Future of Pouch Packaging to 2021 is available for £4,200.
For press enquiries or a more detailed article, please contact Julie Bostock:
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 jbostock@smithers.com