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Where Does Your Industry Stack Up in Packaging Machinery Market Growth?

Factors like changing consumer preferences and sustainability initiatives are driving packaging machinery market growth across major sectors.

The food industry represented more than 40% of the packaging machinery market in 2023.
The food industry represented more than 40% of the packaging machinery market in 2023.
Monty Rakusen via Getty Images

It’s a good time to be in packaging, with a bright outlook for packaging machinery markets across all major industry sectors. But which sector comes out on top, and how do the others stack up?

PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2023 World Packaging Machinery report answers that question, sharing that the top three industries for packaging machinery market growth are food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

Food industry transformation

The global market for packaging machinery by industry. ($M)The global market for packaging machinery by industry. ($M)PMMI Business Intelligence: 2023 World Packaging Machinery ReportThe food industry is the leading user of packaging machinery, representing more than 40% of the packaging machinery market in 2023.

Currently sitting around $20 billion, the market is expected to reach almost $25 billion by 2027, driven by factors such as sustainable packaging and circularity.

Sustainable packaging will remain a leading trend in the food industry with food producers developing eco-friendly packaging options that reduce waste, minimize the use of non-renewable resources, and lower the carbon footprint of their products.

The food industry is undergoing substantial transformation in response to changing consumer purchasing patterns. Factors such as food safety, shelf life, and convenience have for some time emerged as pivotal factors influencing consumer choice, driving technological advancements, and new packaging trends.

The rising consumer preference for sustainable packaging has spurred businesses to explore inventive approaches, incorporating biodegradable and compostable materials into their offerings.

Innovations spur beverage industry

The beverages industry was ranked the second-largest market for packaging machinery in 2023, representing close to 27% of the total market. Currently valued at around $12 billion, the market is expected to grow to over $15 billion by 2027.

Like the food industry, investment in smart packaging, consumer comfort and engagement, product safety, and traceability are all important factors for growth.

Moreover, sustainable packaging will provide an opportunity for beverage companies to further redesign and differentiate their products. Drink producers are looking for ways to become less dependent on plastics and switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The beverage industry is experiencing a shift in secondary packaging trends driven by sustainability.

Plastic shrink-film and rings in multipacks of cans and bottles are being phased out in favor of more eco-friendly alternatives. On the other hand, materials like paperboard are gaining popularity.

Paperboard’s versatility is leading to greater flexibility and innovation in secondary packaging. This includes wrap and clip-style options, basket carriers, and fully enclosed cartons catering to the specific requirements of bottling and canning operations.

Asia Pacific market fuels pharma growth

The pharmaceuticals industry was the third leading end-user market in 2023, representing total sales of $4.7 billion. The market’s 2027 outlook is over $5 billion.

The Asia Pacific market is expected to drive growth as more people can afford access to medicines. The relatively fast-growing level of disposable income in markets such as China, India, and South-East Asia will also contribute to growth over the forecast period.

A continued focus on primary packaging aimed at providing safe handling of medicines and effective delivery will remain a key driver for growth. 

With the volatility of pharma ingredients, primary packaging must address significant stability challenges, especially from moisture, oxygen, hydrocarbons, and other gases. Therefore, market demand is growing for solutions that offer a strong first line of defense, as well as proactively removing contaminants and reactive impurities within the packaging solution.

Intelligent packaging is another area of development. RFID technology is an effective means to support anti-counterfeiting efforts by identifying product tampering. Thermochromic links are also used to print reactive temperature indicators on packaging. Smart sensors are another innovation, detecting changes in humidity, light, and temperature.

In terms of sustainability, printing product and patient information directly onto secondary packaging reduces waste from separate labeling applied onto finished packaging products.

Attention in pharmaceutical packaging has started to shift to plastic waste and its damaging impact on global environments and public health.

Plastic is currently the most popular material used in pharma packaging because it can protect sensitive products against shock, puncturing, vibration, tearing, and changes in heat and humidity.

Consequently, research into more sustainable solutions, such as biodegradable plastics and recyclable bioplastics, is gaining increased attention.

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence: 2023 World Packaging Machinery

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