The Flexible Packaging Association’s (FPA) recently published report, A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World highlights the sustainability benefits of flexible packaging. FPA commissioned PTIS, LLC to provide a holistic view on the sustainability benefits that flexible packaging offers; provide foresight into future sustainability implications for flexible packaging; and develop six Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) case studies comparing flexible packaging to other packaging formats across a range of products. The report also discusses the packaging value chain and consumer trends, and how they relate to packaging implications.

Packaging Value Chain

Packaging will become more central as a key enabler to drivers and trends. As the population in emerging/developing markets grow significantly over the next decade, so will packaging. As a result, the packaging industry will need to consider packaging very early and often in the development process. 

The packaging value chain has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, and moved from a linear supply and demand chain to a circular “cradle to cradle” value chain in the early 2000s. The value chain has again evolved to a value chain web as a result of the growing importance and value of packaging.

Consumer Trends and Insights

Consumers (and customers) no longer buy products and packages, they are buying experiences and solutions. These are important considerations in the packaging value chain, as if consumers do not purchase products, no packaging would be needed.

Approximately 2/3 of all packaging is for food and beverages, and currently, almost 90% of flexible packaging accounts for these sectors. With continued population growth in emerging and developing markets and flexible packaging growth outpacing other packaging material growth – flexibles will become more visible and more transparent, which suggests both benefit opportunities and potential implications. 

flexible packaging consumer trends chart

PTIS, LLC has been tracking top consumer trends for several years along with pertinent packaging implications. The trends are enabled by packaging in many ways and are truly value driven where value equals benefits/price versus competition. Packaging plays a large supporting role where the packaging provides protection, containment, and communication yielding value. 

Looking Forward

The collaboration of drivers, macro/mega-trends and insights, along with significant population and packaging growth, will necessitate the need for enhanced focus on packaging and the environment for the global packaging economy. As flexible packaging grows, the FPA and its stakeholders look to continue to make packaging sustainability a key priority.

For More Information

The report, A Holistic View of the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Sustainable World, is publicly available and can be downloaded by visiting the FPA website, and scrolling to the “Publications and Reports” section on the homepage. For more information, contact FPA at or 410-694-0800.