The growth will be fuelled by plastic's numerous inherent advantages relative to other packaging media, including its relative low cost, light weight, design flexibility, shatter resistance, strength, favorable barrier properties and clarity, the Freedonia Group said in its latest report on the packaging sector for the material.
Recent hikes in the price of petroleum use to make plastics has however boosted its price over the past year. Still, Freedonia believes the growth in plastic packaging will create an annual demand for 14.2 billion pounds of resin by 2010
Further advances in the use of plastics will be limited by increasing maturity in key markets like soft drinks and household chemicals. Continuing efforts aimed at reducing consumption through lightweighting or downgauging will restrain growth in resin volume, the market research firm noted in its report.
Plastic bottles and jars, which accounted for 78 percent of plastic container poundage in 2005, will be the dominant plastic container type through to 2010, according to the research.
"Although advances will be buoyed by the popularity of smaller-sized beverage bottles, beverage container growth will slow from the 2000-2005 period due to the maturity of the soft drink segment," Freedonia stated. "The food and pharmaceuticals markets will provide above-average opportunities."
Smaller segments of the plastic container industry like cans, squeeze tubes and trays will record faster growth than bottles and jars, the research firm noted. Cans will benefit from expanding applications like paint and coffee traditionally dominated by other packaging media, such as metal.
"Advances in plastic trays willbe aided by the increasing prevalence of case-ready meats in many retail channels, particularly Wal-Mart," the firm stated.
Squeeze tube growth will be supported by above-average increases in shipments of cosmetic and toiletry products.