(11/23/2013 / nho)

Functional and barrier coatings for paper and board to reach $5.1 billion by 2018

The global market for functional and barrier coatings used in paper and board applications was worth an estimated $4.2 billion in 2012, and is expected to increase by almost 420,000 tonnes by 2018 according to a new market report by Smithers Pira.

The Future of Functional and Barrier Coatings for Paper and Board to 2018 by Smithers Pira explores the drivers and trends behind this impressive growth. The report offers a comprehensive overview of the industry, including quantitative market sizes and forecasts divided by country and end-use.

The study reports that demand is fairly evenly spread across the three major sectors: the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. The US holds the largest share of the global market at 28% of the total volume in 2012. However, in coming years there will be a marked shift towards the Asia-Pacific sector and China will usurp the US' leadership position, increasing its share to 26% of the market in 2018, while the US will slip to 25%.

The expected economic recovery will mean increased disposable income and therefore a growth in household expenditure on products within the functional and barrier coating market. Changes in consumer lifestyles and demographics, such as a growing demand for convenience, on-the-go meals and smaller packs have led to increased use of functional and barrier coatings for the paper and board sector. Recycling and sustainability concerns are also important factors. Many retailers are insisting on traceability of source materials and environmental awareness in their suppliers, which is creating a need for biodegradable, recyclable or compostable coating materials for these packaging applications.

Cost remains at the forefront of everyone's minds, from the raw material suppliers right through to the final consumers. Many coatings consist of polyethylene or aluminium or both, so raw material price volatility in these markets increases the pressure on manufacturers to come up with viable alternatives at competitive prices – while still offering the same characteristics as the materials they are intended to replace. This is easier said than done, and commercially viable volumes and prices are still some way in the future.

The packaging of food and beverages accounts for 85% of the demand for these coating materials, and within this group above average growth in demand can be expected in the fresh, chilled and frozen food sectors over the medium term. Good growth prospects are also anticipated in the much lower volume non-food applications, including tobacco packaging and reel and ream wrapping. Almost 40% of coating materials are used in the beverage and liquids sector, mainly in the form of extrusion polymers and aluminium foil laminate.

The Future of Functional and Barrier Coatings for Paper and Board to 2018 is available now. For more information, visit