The best opportunities for plastic container manufacturers will be in the smaller segments of themarket, such as in the production of trays and cans.
Tray demand will be boosted by strong growthfor frozen and prepared foods and the growing prevalence of case-ready meant and poultry.
Plasticwill make advances in the canning market due to its use for such products as coffee, snack food andpaint packaging, the firm forecast.
"While smaller-sized beverage bottles will continue to fuel advances, growth willdecelerate from the pace of the past decade due to increasing maturity in the soft drinksegment," the firm said.
"Above-average opportunities are expected in food usesbased on the improved heat resistance of resins such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which willcreate further opportunities in hot-fill uses. Moreover, niche opportunities such as beer bottleswill support advances as plastics supplant alternative containers."
High density polyethylene (HDPE) will remain as the leading plastic container resin through to2008 but will be displaced by the faster growing PET by 2013, the firm said.
The change is a resultof the rapid advances in the bottled water market and expand use in the food, household chemicals,cosmetics and toiletries segments. HDPE will still account for 45 per cent of plastic containervolume based on its low cost and entrenched position.
Overall the US demand for plastic containers could grow 3.6 per cent a year to 14.6 billionpounds, the firm said. Plastic bottles accounted for 77 per cent of plastic container weight in 2003and will continue to remain the dominant type for during this decade, the firm predicts.
"Plastics will continue to supplant alternative packaging materials," the firmstated. "However, further advances will be restrained by increasing maturity in may keymarkets such as soft drinks, edible oils and household and industrial chemicals. Efforts to reduceresin use via downgauging or lightweighting will restrain volume growth."