The compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent from 2016 to 2021 will put the value of the market at an estimated $3.21 billion, according to a study by MarketsandMarkets. The market’s value was US$2.10 billion in 2015.
North America and Europe are the world’s major markets for packaged food items, and the breathable films market is no different, leading with a combined market share of 60 percent in 2016.
However, just 2.5 percent of the breathable films market size was used in food packaging in 2015, indicating that the burgeoning breathable films market has plenty of room for growth.
With packaged food being convenient, hygienic and competitively priced, consumer trends are shifting in developing regions like Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and South America. Growing adoption of western diets such as packaged cheese and vegetables is expected to drive market growth in these regions.
China is one of the world’s largest fruits and vegetables producers. Growth in supermarkets and consumer demand for quality and convenience are expected to support the breathable films market in the country’s food packaging industry.
In India, normal polyethylene films are mainly used for food packaging thanks to their low cost. But with middle-income families growing rapidly, packaged food consumption is expected to rise.
“The urban lifestyle and subsequently less time for cooking due to a rise in the number of women in the workplace will further fuel the growth of the food packaging industry. Considering all these factors, the food packaging application segment for breathable films is expected to rise faster,” said Chiranjeeb Kulia, author of the study.
Breathable films are made from a combination of polymers such as polyethylene or polyurethane, along with mineral fillers. These mineral fillers that have a microporous structure that allows vapour transmission. This is useful for vegetables, fruits and cheese, which require aeration to stay fresh and breathable films used as food packaging to ensure food waste reduction, longer shelf-life and convenience of use.
“A lot of R&D is being carried out on renewable materials such as hydrogel films using synthetic polyvinylpyrrolidone and biopolymers carboxymethyl cellulos. As these films are biodegradable and suitable for food packaging, they can solve the problem of disposal of plastic waste faced by the global packaging industry,” Mr Kulia said.