The adoption of PET shrink film in the packaging industry is relatively a new development. The application of this packaging solution is expected to grow significantly across several industries in the coming years. High adoption of the PET film-based packaging especially in the food & beverage sector and the increasing global pressure or shift from the use of conventional packaging materials to environmentally sustainable packaging solutions across industries present key factors that boost the market. The wide availability of the packaging products and expansion of the distributor channels of the products are other vital factors that help drive the market growth.

PET shrink film is a green material and is the most widely recycled plastic globally. This film is widely adopted as a packaging material that helps preserve the original quality and safety of products during distribution and warehousing. The rising popularity of this type of packaging solution across industries is due to its several advantages such as high tensile strength and high heat or thermal resistance besides being an eco-friendly product. In addition to the food & beverage industry, the PET film as a packing solution is widely adopted in industries including industrial applications, personal care & cosmetics, and printing & stationery.

The global pet shrink film market has its services extending across five major regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific constitutes a large market share and has a wide potential to boost its market in the coming years. The rapid growth of the food & beverage industry and increasing number of key global players for PET shrink films in the region are the key driving factors for the regional market growth. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse impact brought a severe consequence in the market performance especially during the financial year of 2019-2020. Wide closure of the production units across the globe forced by the emergency lockdown imposed by governments across several countries acted as a major restraining factor for the packaging industry.

PET Shrink Film as a Best Recycled Packaging Solution

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family that offers several excellent physical properties including heat resistance and water or moisture barrier. The PET shrink film combines high density and strength into a high-quality option that can ensure the maximum or effective shrinkage performance of packaging. It has a higher shrink percentage than other competitive alternatives such as the PVC shrink film. Among the types of shrink film, PET offers the largest shrinkage rate that can raise shrink rate to 80%. Thus, these films are widely adopted in the manufacturing of bottle packaging with a complex geometric shape.

Some of the key competitive materials widely used as shrink film packaging are POF (Polyolefin) shrink film and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) shrink films.

  • POF (Polyolefin) shrink film

This type of shrink film shows an excellent low shrink temperature property, which is very close to the level of shrink temperature of PVC shrink film. The POF film has good seal strength and offers a capacity of over 70% shrinkage that can be highly effective even under the worst shrink conditions. Owing to these favorable properties, the films are vastly adopted for packaging several products as such as softboxes, candies, and chocolate. Moreover, the films confer antistatic additive function to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESD) sensitive contents from electrostatic fields. Due to this advantage, these film materials are also widely applied in various electronic items packaging.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) shrink films

These films have good transparency and molding factors besides being an excellent sealant with high-temperature resistance capacity. Moreover, these films act as a good barrier to oxygen, moisture, and good thermoforming. Owing to these attributes, these films are suitable for various applications including primary pharmaceutical blister packing products such as tablets and capsules, which are moisture-sensitive products. Currently, PVC film is the most popular material for shrink packaging purposes and the most widely used heat shrinkable label film material due to its several advantages and wide applications.

Over the years, the PET shrink film started gaining popularity in the packaging industry mainly because of the fact that these films are highly recyclable, eco-friendly, and other advantages. However, the relative high cost of the PET shrink film is a key disadvantage that can hamper the growth of the market.

PET Material Types

PET shrink film can be broadly categorized into three groups, namely low shrink films, medium shrink films, and high shrink films.

  • Low Shrink Films

Low shrink film is the low-temperature materials that do not require a large amount of heat for faster shrinking. The low-temperature shrink film can be used for the packaging of food products such as candies and chocolates as well as several heat-sensitive electronics products. The films offer various advantaged features including superior seal strength, low shrink, and seal temperature, and puncture resistance, which also lead to reducing the sealing time of products.

  • Medium Shrink Films

These films include an effective combination of density and strength that do not normally shrink at room temperature during storage and transportation. The films are majorly adopted in packaging food and cosmetics products. These transparent packaging films can be used for packaging different shapes of bottles and complex containers.

  • High Shrink Films

These films are made of high-density and strength plastics that remain stable at room temperature and thus, they are ideal for various printing machines. High shrink films offer various excellent physical properties such as good surface tension, high suction capacity, and high gloss besides showing high-quality performance. Owing to these attributes, these films are widely used to print and are majorly used in the packaging of beverages bottles, food and cosmetics packaging, and electronic products.

Market Outlook

As per the latest report published by Growth Market Reports (GMR), the global PET shrink film market was valued at USD 1,034.6 Million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 1,705.3 Million by 2027, expanding around a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period. In terms of volume, the PET shrink film market is anticipated to grow approximately by a CAGR of 5.3% over the coming years.

The market growth can be attributed to the rising expansion of the food & beverage market especially in developing countries and the growing demand for a packaging solution for food and drink items. Rising demand for processed foods such as meats and vegetables as well as the rapid expansion of ready-to-eat food items due to the increasing number of the global population are pushing to raise the demand for the packaging industry.

Prominent Players and Competitive Landscape

Some of the key players in the market include Fuji Seal International Inc., Anchor Packaging Inc., AEP Industries Inc., Bemis Company Inc., Berry Global Inc., Sealed Air Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, Sigma Plastics Group, Clysar LLC., and Klöckner Pentaplast.

These companies are considered to be key global players of PET shrink film on the basis of their revenue, research development (R&D) activities, regional presence, and supply chain management system. These manufacturers are actively engaged in the implementation and adoption of key strategies such as acquisition & mergers, product launches, and increasing production units with geographical expansion to enhance their presence and boost their market share in the global PET shrink film market.

  • The Dow Chemical Company

The Dow Chemical Company joined hand in receiving the winner prize of the 2020 SEAL Environmental Initiative Award with Kashi and Berry Global on 19 February 2021, for their contribution toward the first fully recyclable flexible barrier pouch available nationally for Kashi’s Bear Naked brand Granola. The SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership) Awards honored the companies for their teamwork to create the new packaging structure, recyclable at over 18,000 retail locations nationwide. On 19 November 2020, the company announced its initiative to promote global recycling in self-adhesive label industry “CELAB: Toward a Circular Economy for Labels.” As per the press release of the company, “The CELAB initiative was founded by companies in the self-adhesive label industry to create greater circularity for its products by enhancing and promoting matrix and release liner recycling around the world.”

  • Fuji Seal International Inc.

Fuji Seal International Inc. released an environment report in September 2019 about its newly launched products and performance result. On 6th September 2019, American Fuji Seal Inc.’s RecShrinkTM and washable ink system were recognized as meeting APR’s Critical Guidance Protocol for Clear PET Articles with Labels and Closures (PET-CG-02). The PET-CG-02 is a procedure manual, published by the company in April 2019, for simultaneous recycling of PET bottles and labels.

  • Berry Global Inc.

On January 20, 2017, Berry Plastic Global Group announced that it completed the acquisition of AEP Industries Inc. under a deal issuing 6.5 million common shares and $297 million paid as merger consideration. With the new stock, Berry increased its stock to approximately 129 million shares, which had resulted to forge a market capitalization of nearly USD 6.5 billion. The acquisition deal was aimed to increase the company’s position in the packaging industry.

The global PET shrink film market is expected to witness substantial growth in the coming years owing to the wide potential the market has, in terms of product sales and wide applications of the products. Meanwhile, the rapid development of the packaging industry offers a key opportunity for the market growth since the demand for eco-friendly packaging materials across industries is growing significantly.