The Flexible Packaging Association recently released its 21st annual State of the Flexible Packaging Industry Report, which provides data on industry performance and productivity over the past year. This key source of information also examines flexible packaging materials and processes, end-uses, M&A activity, and imports and exports. FPA continues its review of the 2012 Report within this issue of the FPA Update. This month, the “End Uses” and “Imports and Export” sections of the Report are highlighted.


Steady growth and expansion of the $25.4 billion flexible packaging industry has been aided by innovation in technology and products, growth in new and existing markets, and an ability to adapt to the changing environment of today’s marketplace and consumers. According to the 2012 SOI Report, 56 percent of flexible packaging is used for food sold through retail outlets and for food sold to institutions. Converter participants in the 2012 SOI survey noted that pet food/suppliers, pharmaceuticals, snacks, medical devices, and produce are the top five end-use areas of advancement and growth for the flexible packaging industry. 

Exports & Imports

Flexible packaging exports have accounted for a relatively consistent share of domestic production (measured in dollars) over the past 10 years. U.S. flexible packaging exports are up 14 percent in 2011 versus 2010. Canada and Mexico remain the two largest purchasers of U.S. flexible packaging exports, followed by Saudi Arabia. The U.S. flexible packaging industry’s trade deficit – the difference between exports and imports – increased slightly in 2011, rising six percent to $1.8 billion. Additional data on U.S. flexible packaging imports and exports is available in the Appendix section of the 2012 SOI Report. 

The 2011 FPA State of the Flexible Packaging Industry Report is a benefit of FPA membership and is available in the Members Only section of the FPA Web site, Printed copies of the Report are also available to FPA non-members for $3,500. For more information, contact Bob Zaborowski, director, Business & Economic Research at (410) 694-0800.