The Asia Pacific Region has the fastest-growing packaging demand in the world with China driving much of the marketplace, AMI officials say. 
AMI Consultant Charmaine Russell has reviewed the global flexible packaging markets and will be presenting a review at the second AMI conference on Specialty Packaging Films Asia 2015, taking place from 17-19 March 2015 at the Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore. The Asian region is also a leader in technology with Japan as an early innovator in active and intelligent packaging systems. The Mondelez research group in Singapore studies flexible packaging solutions for confectionery and other foodstuffs.  The lead institute for food and packaging studies in Singapore is the Food Innovation & Resource Center. 
There is a global realization that a few grams of plastic can protect large quantities of fresh produce and save a great deal of food, pharmaceuticals, and other commodities from being wasted.  Shelf-life can be dramatically improved with high barrier materials and special film and sheet materials. From India, Printpack Packaging Supplies is involved in the emerging trends and applications for high barrier sheet. Liquid storage is increasingly converting to more flexible packaging for cost and space reasons: the prize winning company Parakh Agro has specialty films and laminates for packaging of liquid food products from milk to cooking oil.  The increasingly global nature of the packaging market is bringing large players to the fore, and Cosmo Films is building a worldwide business in specialty BOPP films.
Layered films combine the properties of different polymer materials and keep down costs. Bandera Luigi Construzioni Meccaniche has versatile blown film machinery to produce quality barrier films, while energy consumption can be reduced with technology from Piovan. Laminated film can be produced using technology from Davis-Standard.  A sealant layer can be incorporated in film using polymer from companies such as ExxonMobil Chemical and Dow Chemical. Converters use inks and functional barrier coatings from companies such as DIC (Shanghai) and Toyo Ink (Japan) to make labels, bags, sachets and pouches.  Easy peel, consumer-friendly polymer options are available from DuPont (Korea).
Packaging design provides the opportunity to maximise consumer appeal and ease of use, but it must incorporate a degree of price awareness, because many markets function with economics as a primary driving force. Any solution must be cost-effective as well as pretty. The leading flexible packaging manufacturer in Malaysia, Daibochi Plastic and Packaging Industry Berhad combines these factors in new product development.
Sustainable packaging is the goal of consumers, brand owners and manufacturers and there have been a variety of innovations in this area, which are commercially available. Plantic Technologies from Australia is producing high barrier bio-based films, combing a long shelf-life and lower carbon footprint. Over in Vietnam Lotus Chemical Technology is examining biodegradable polymers for flexible packaging. In Indonesia PT Inter Aneka Lestari Kimia has developed a starch-based, oxygen-barrier, lamination layer.  The conventional barrier layer materials include EVOH available from Kuraray Asia Pacific, and polyamide from BASF.
Product safety is high priority particularly for food and pharmaceutical products. The Chinese regulatory authorities are currently implementing a range of legislation, which affects packaging materials and this is being reviewed by Keller and Heckman, LLP (China). There have been discussions about Halal certification of packaging and these are being lead by Gimdez in Turkey. 
The AMI conference on Specialty Packaging Films Asia 2015 will provide the opportunity to examine the emerging new developments and expanding markets in the Asia Pacific region. There will be a focused group from industry and research to discuss all the issues at the Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore from March 17-19, 2015, with plenty of opportunities for networking with top flexible packaging experts.
Applied Market Information Ltd.