Nanotechnology is Redefining Flexible Packaging Market. Here’s How

Demand for Flexible Food Packaging to Rise as Global Population Explodes

The world will have 9.6 bn mouths to feed by 2050, says the United Nations. While this underscores the pressing need for food security, it also points toward another challenge: developing food packaging that’s sustainable, affordable, and effective. With new developments in materials sciences, the many possibilities opened up by nanotechnology in flexible food packaging have come to the fore. That’s because the role of nanotechnology doesn’t stop at creating flexible packaging that enhances the shelf life of food products by entirely cutting off oxygen and other gases.

It steps beyond the boundaries of conventional food packaging to offer limitless opportunities. For instance, the use of nanotechnology in flexible packaging can tell both sellers and buyers when food has gone off. Likewise, the use of nanotechnology can also help curb exposure to UV rays and moisture more effectively.

Nanotechnology Could Chalk Up new Future for Flexible Packaging Market

As a result of its versatile and imaginative applications, the mounting importance of nanotechnology in the flexible packaging market is unmistakable. The larger flexible packaging market for food and beverages, pharmaceutical, retail non-food, and other applications is expected to be worth US$99.1 bn by 2019. The flexible packaging market is expected to rise at a rather healthy CAGR of 4.4% between 2013 and 2019, according to market intelligence firm, Transparency Market Research (TMR). 

The stake claimed by food packaging in the larger flexible packaging market is appreciable, giving rise to several lucrative opportunities for the deployment of innovative nanotechnology-based coatings and material enhancements. TMR, in its report, states that nanotechnology will be a defining trend in the global flexible packaging market.

Nanotechnology is Making Flexible Packaging Thinner yet Better

The food industry has been at the forefront of adopting nanotechnology as a means to take packaging to previously unimaginable heights. For instance, packaging with a thickness of just a few nanometers can create a surprisingly impermeable barrier for packaging. Another instance would be antimicrobial packaging that makes use of silver nanoparticles and can be used to package a variety of products right from small electronics to wound dressings.

And it can do this without compromising on the flexibility of packaging or making the packaging prohibitively expensive. Considering these benefits, it is easy to see why more and more companies in the food and beverages industry are willing to incorporate nanotechnology in product packaging.

Lack of Convincing Evidence about Safety of Nanotechnology Restricts Adoption

While there is much excitement about the use of nanotechnology in food and beverage products, many food and beverage companies are still treading with caution. This is owing to a lack of clarity about whether and to what extent nanoparticles leach into food products. Although there have been several studies to demonstrate that nanotechnology is safe for flexible packaging in food products, conflicting opinions do exist.

Besides this, the recyclability and reuse of nanotechnology-enhanced flexible packaging has raised questions. Unless these doubts are put to rest with authoritative research and studies, the flexible packaging market will not see the widespread adoption of nanotechnology.


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