US Plastic Film Demand to Exceed 16 Billion Pounds

CLEVELAND, OH | A new Freedonia Group study, titled "Plastic Film," presents trends projecting US demand to grow 2.6% annually to over 16 billion lb in 2012, valued at $13.4 billion (resin cost only). Total plastic film market value (including resins, additives, and processing, and other costs), according to the study, will reach nearly $32 billion. Advances will reflect film’s cost, performance and source reduction advantages over rigid packaging, as well as opportunities in film products such as pouches and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The leading film will remain low-density polyethylene (LDPE), accounting for almost two-thirds of the total in 2012, according the study.

Forecasted LDPE demand will increase nearly 3% annually to 10.5 billion lb in 2012, resulting from the film’s competitive cost structure, versatility, and opportunities in such areas as produce and snack packaging, stretch and shrink wrap, and trash bags. In contrast, high-density PE (HDPE) film demand will grow at a below average pace as a result of slow retail bag advances. Polypropylene film will be higher than LDPE demand, expanding at 3.4% annually, driven by produce, grain mill, dairy product, and other food packaging applications.

Continuing to decline in demand is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film, which continues to be used in the declining applications for photographic film and magnetic tape. Even so, good opportunities are anticipated for PET film, according to the study, in food packaging applications requiring higher barrier properties, such as snack foods, confections, and frozen foods.

The study reports that packaging accounted for nearly three-fourths of all plastic film use in 2007 due to cost, convenience, and source reduction advantages over other materials. Secondary packaging, including stretch and shrink wrap as well as retail bags, will experience rapid growth while food packaging will grow at near average pace. Non-packaging film advances, says the study, will be fueled by trash bag growth. For more information, visit:

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