Packaging and labeling may dominate the global specialty-paper and paperboard markets with a 40% share, but end uses for these materials run the gamut from industrial, foodservice and building & construction to security, filter and medical applications. So, it’s not surprising that presentations at last week’s AWA Specialty Paper Industry Conference 2011 in Chicago looked far and wide at the present and future of the field.
Here’s a Converting Curmudgeon summary to key points, based on talks given by AWA senior consultant Bob Hamilton, PwC Austria director Ian Murdoch and Dow Corning PSI European Area marketing mgr. Youry Bioul.
- In 2010, the global specialty paper and paperboard market was 23.9 million metric tons, accounting for 6.1% of the total global paper industry.
- Worldwide, the specialty paper and paperboard field will grow 2.7% a year to 2015, then 3.2% a year to 2025—slightly better than the paper industry overall.
- The US specialty-paper market is now at 7.5-8 million tons/yr, consistently growing at 2.5% a year—particularly in areas such as pressure-sensitive labelstocks.
- Packaging & labeling apps for specialty papers are rising 7.7% a year; printing and publishing apps are falling 1.9% a year.
- Growth grade categories for specialty-paper packaging & labels include aseptic packaging, bags, C1S labelstocks, release liners and grease-resistant papers.
- Among the declining specialty-paper grades for packaging are floral wraps and bar-soap wraps (both being replaced by plastic films) and tobacco packaging (in European and US markets only).
- Geographic market shares for specialty papers: Europe 35%, North America 30%, Asia-Pacific 29%, South America 5% and Rest of the World 1%.
- South America’s specialty-paper market share has grown 50% since 2008.
- Paper release liners made up 10% of global specialty papers in 2010. Silicone-coated food-release papers accounted for 7% of all paper release liners and that share has grown 200% since 2007.
- Threats to packaging-labeling apps: Renewable resource-based films; recycling issues; cost and health issues with fluorocarbon-based grease-resistant papers; replacement by films or other plastic structures based on performance.
- Opportunities for packaging-labeling apps: Recycled-fiber and high-yield products; replacement of films and other petroleum-based products by renewable papers; growth in fast-food outlets; new printing technologies; aging population.