According to a Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) market report, the flexible packaging segment comprises 41% of the total packaging market and continues to gradually steal market share from rigid packaging, which currently accounts for the remaining 59%. Tom Egan, vice president for Industry Services at PMMI, discussed this and other flexible packaging data last week at the 13th Annual Global Pouch Forum in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Egan noted that food products and flexible packaging have an almost natural fit, a trend the PMMI data clearly supports: 56% of all food and beverage shipments use flexible packaging, making this the largest market for flexible packaging. This strong presence is followed by the consumer goods (36%), pharmaceutical/healthcare (14%) and retail (10%) segments.

The PMMI presentation at the Global Pouch Forum confirmed the stand-up pouch's popularity, as 59% of companies who are increasing their flexible packaging usage choose the stand-up pouch. Drivers behind this growth include excellent shelf presence, convenience and improved manufacturing efficiencies, said Egan.

Despite flexible packaging's recent successes with manufacturers and consumers alike, Egan suggested flexible packaging still has a tough row to hoe, however. In its survey of food, beverage and healthcare/pharmaceutical packaging professionals, PMMI found that about half (49%) of the respondents predict no change in their usage rates of flexible packaging in the next 12 months. Moreover, 45% of the food companies surveyed indicated they have already reached their level of flexible packaging usage for the next 12 months.