In 2013, the world consumed more than 1,200 billion liters of packaged liquid food, which was about 3.5% more than the consumption in 2012. The main segments of liquid food were water, soft drinks, dairy products and fruit juices among others. The consumer preference for ready–to-carry liquid food has led to a tremendous growth in the liquid packaging cartons market in the last decade, and this trend is only expected to increase in the forthcoming years. The liquid packaging cartons can be of various sizes, shapes and application types, and are easy to design and model according to the packager’s need.
One of the primary drivers of the liquid packaging market is the growing inclination of the general population towards packaged food and drinks. Fast lifestyle and convenience of carton packaged drinks over other packaging means such as glass bottles has acted as drivers to this market. Although plastic packaging is still one of the major competitors for carton packaging for drinks, carton packaging manages to score more on the environmental grounds and recyclability. Consumers seeking environmentally friendly means of packaging are expected to be a driving factor for the liquid packaging cartons market.
Moreover the recyclability of the carton packages reduces municipal wastage, and brings down cost of production in the long run. Introduction of aseptic cartons in the market has also boosted the growth of this liquid packaging technique. Aseptic cartons are primarily made of paperboard, with thin layers of plastic and aluminum. These cartons help to preserve food over a substantial period of time without adding preservatives. Tetra Pak is one of the market leaders in the aseptic carton packaging technology.
The main stumbling block for liquid packaging cartons market is the plastic containers, which account for a sizable share of the liquid food packaging market. Polyethylene terepthalate (PET) and High density polyethylene (HDPE) are the main market competitors of carton packaging for liquid food. The popularity of different packaging methods varies with region. PET containers are preferred to carton packaging for milk in North America, while some parts of Europe are carton package society.
Several opportunities lie for the liquid packaging carton market to grow. Innovation in packaging techniques is the key to future growth of the market. As the market caters to FMCG products, packaging attractiveness and differentiation are the key attributes which decide the popularity of a brand and drive a consumer towards one product. The expectations of brand owners as well as the consumers needs to be satisfied in the lines of packaging differentiation and functionality, food safety, and cost effectiveness of packaging performance and reliability. Some of the functional expectations from the brand owners are logistical benefits, easy pouring and drinking experience for customers and differentiated opening techniques for aged consumers. Apart from these financial opportunities lie in recycling of cartons, use of renewable materials, and equipments which consume less energy and produce lesser wastes.
The market is regulated by changing demographics, economics and sustainability. Asia Pacific which is home to the largest population in the world is also the fastest growing market for liquid packaging cartons market. High population in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Thailand, and the rising disposable income of the people have resulted in growth in liquid food market, which indirectly resulted in growth in the liquid packaging cartons market. North America market is experiencing stagnation in the market, while the growth in Europe is slow to moderate. South America, Africa, Russia and Asia Pacific are the regions which are expected to drive growth in this market. Some of the major players in this market are Tetra Laval, Comar, Inc., Liqui-Box Corp. and Tri-Wall, and Wayerhaeuser among many others.