June 18, 2024

Thermoformed Plastics Market Driven by Growing Demand from Packaging Industry

Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. Thermoformed plastics are lightweight, durable, moisture-resistant and can be produced in large volumes at relatively low costs. They find wide applications in packaging food, consumer goods and medical devices. Food packaging applications include bags, clamshell containers, cups and trays used for packaging meat, poultry, dairy, bakery and confectionery products. Growing consumption of packaged and ready-to-eat food has been a major driver for thermoformed plastics. The global Thermoformed Plastics Market is estimated to be valued at US$ 12.9 Bn in 2023 and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 2.9% over the forecast period 2023 to 2030, as highlighted in a new report published by Coherent Market Insights.

Market key trends:

One of the key trends in the thermoformed plastics market has been the shift towards sustainable packaging solutions made from recycled plastics. Traditional thermoforming plastics are non-biodegradable and create plastic waste that ends up in landfills. To address environmental concerns, manufacturers have started developing thermoformed products using post-consumer recycled resins. For example, Sonoco Products Company offers a range of thermoformed food trays and clamshells made from 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE and PP resins. Biodegradable thermoformed plastics made from polymers such as PLA are also gaining popularity. Technology advancements have enabled thermoformers to produce products with increasing depth, complexity as well as improved aesthetics using automated high-speed production lines. 3D forming technology allows molding intricate shapes in a single operation helping minimize waste.

Porter’s Analysis:

  • Threat of new entrants: The threat of new entrants is low to moderate as the thermoformed plastics market requires high initial investments in machinery and mold manufacturing. However, new players are emerging with different product innovations.
  • Bargaining power of buyers: The bargaining power of buyers is moderate. Buyers have several competing options available but lack differentiation. However, large buyers can negotiate on price and delivery terms.
  • Bargaining power of suppliers: The bargaining power of suppliers is low to moderate. Raw material suppliers such as plastic resin manufacturers operate globally with excess capacity. However, supplier concentration is moderate for customized materials.
  • Threat of new substitutes: The threat of new substitutes is moderate. Alternatives include injection molding for some applications but thermoforming has advantages for complex shapes and lower costs for high volumes. Advanced materials pose a threat.
  • Competitive rivalry: The market is moderately competitive with some global players and several mid-sized regional players. Competition is based on pricing, product innovation, and customer service.

Key Takeaways:

The global thermoformed plastics market is expected to witness high growth. The market size is projected to reach US$ 12.9 Bn by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 2.9% during the forecast period.

Regional analysis: North America dominated the global market in 2019 led by the U.S. followed by Europe. Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest pace during the forecast period with rising consumption in China, India and other developing countries.

Key players: Key players operating in the thermoformed plastics market are Pactiv LLC, Sonoco Products Company, CM Packaging, Placon, and Genpak LLC. Pactiv LLC maintains its leading position with its branded and private label packaging portfolio across food, beverage, and medical end-use industries.