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High-visibility packaging demand climbing

U.S. demand for high-visibility packaging, including clamshells and blister packs, is expected to increase 5.1 percent annually to $8.5 billion in 2010.

That represents almost 32 billion units, creating a market for 900 million lb of plastic resins. Gains will be driven by favorable advances in consumer spending along with the growing influence of mass market retailers. Retailers favor blister packs, clamshells and other high-visibility containers for their theft and tamper deterrence and ability to effectively showcase products. Further growth will be limited by the rising volume of offshore production and packaging of such products as toys, games, sporting goods, hardware and electronics.

These and other trends are presented in High Visibility Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., (, a Cleveland, OH-based industry market research firm.

Carded blisters and clamshells lead the way

The best opportunities are anticipated for carded blister packs and clamshells, which together accounted for 58% of high-visibility packaging in 2005. Clamshell demand is bolstered by strong gains in food markets such as fresh produce and prepared foods.

In addition, clamshells will benefit from their upscale appearance; thick, rigid construction, which is particularly suited to larger, heavier items; and ability to deter theft and tampering. Blister pack demand will be stimulated by healthy gains for pharmaceutical blister packs resulting from regulatory issues associated with unit-dose packaging.

Windowed packaging demand will increase at a below-average pace as a result of slow growth for windowed cartons in baked goods, a major application. Skin packaging will register the slowest growth based on declining demand for carded skin packs as a result of higher production costs and the shift to offshore production in key applications like hardware.

Hot markets: Food, pharma, and medical

Food will account for half of the high-visibility packaging market based on extensive use in such applications as baked goods, prepared foods and fresh produce. Growth will be assisted by rising consumer interest in convenient, prepared foods like home meal replacements, which are becoming increasingly available in supermarkets and other venues and which frequently utilize clamshells and similar high visibility containers.

The fastest growth for high-visibility packaging will be seen in pharmaceutical and medical product markets, with advances supported by the patient compliance and distribution efficiency benefits of blister packaging.
-Rick Lingle

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