Global Liquid Packaging Cartons Market Size Study with Industry Trends, Top Countries Data, Growth, Opportunities and Forecast to 2022-2031

The global liquid packaging cartons market was valued at USD 10.68 billion in 2022 and it is expected to reach USD 13.61 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 4.2%, during the period of 2022-2031.

Cartons are paperboard containers manufactured by converters that are filled and closed in a food packaging plant. Cartons are made in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and numerous designs. The most crucial factor in Liquid Packaging Board (LPB) is purity, which disqualifies non – wood free pulps and secondary fibers. Also, LFB is generally made up of pulp from bleached or unbleached chemical pulp. According to Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), the production capacity of the chemical pulp in the United States in 2022, accounted for 45,800 thousand metric tons that are expected to reach 45,342 thousand metric tons in 2031.

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A carton as a primary packaging material protects a product. Additionally, it makes product handling easier, provides a surface that can be printed, and is attractively decorated to add aesthetic sales appeal to the product. It also makes it possible to market several items in a single package, which results in additional cost savings in the supply chain.

Fruit juice is a rapidly growing beverage market segment, but most of these juices are prone to oxidation. The oxidation process results in a loss of vitamins and undesirable changes in taste and appearance. These unfavorable quality changes often occur while the fluid is processed, packaged, transported, or stored. The need for quality control has given rise to new design innovations in packaging, which impacts the growth of liquid cartons.

One of the critical differentiators that are expected to boost the Demand For Carton Packaging For Liquid Products is the environmental factor. Marketing the consumer products packaged in environment-safe packages is expected to draw more environmentally aware consumers and is likely to be an important differentiator for packaging suppliers and FMCG brand owners in the future.

Key Market Trends

Milk is Expected to Hold Major Share

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations) and the US department of agriculture, worldwide milk production in the year 2022 amounted to around 532.25 million metric tons. In 2022, European Union was the leading producer of cow milk and produced about 157.5 million metric tons of cow milk, followed by the United States and India.

Carton packaging has conventionally been associated with milk, as it protects food and is also good for the environment. Paperboard is one of the frequently used materials for making cartons for milk packaging. Additionally, milk cartons, also known as gable-top cartons, and are a common form of poly-coated paper packaging. By weight, milk cartons are 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. Paper milk cartons substituted refillable glass bottles in the 1950s, offering a convenient, lightweight alternative for consumers. However, paper cartons for milk have been rapidly being replaced with plastic containers.

The bio-based packages are extra sustainable than standard milk cartons, diminishing manufacturer dependence on fossil-based polyethylene plastic in the lining. Consumer interest in sustainability is growing, with research indicating that people of all ages believe companies should take responsibility for their environmental footprint. Moreover, the cartons are being adopted as it is a suitable option for packaging milk for retail distribution. Businesses have increased frequently adopting aseptic cartons and pouches for milk packaging. Research shows that aseptically processed UHT milk’s organoleptic quality has important benefits in lactulose, lactoserum proteins, and vitamin content compared to retort processing.

Due to the increasing demand for milk cartons, some companies have expanded their production capacities and introduced new machines for easier production. For instance, in 2022, Uflex increased its aseptic plant’s production capacity from 3.5 billion to 7 billion packs per year in response to the new contracts and increasing demand for the company’s aseptic packaging laminates.

Asia-Pacific is Expected to Witness the Highest Growth

Sustainability trepidations, technological innovation, and attractive economics are among the reasons for the remarkable growth of liquid packaging in China in last two decades. The way consumers view and interact with packages is rapidly changing. Vendors are increasingly focusing on sustainability, and traditional rigid packaging solutions are being substituted by innovative and more sustainable paperboard carton packaging in the country. The increasing market demand for customer-friendly packages and heightened product protection is expected to boost liquid packaging as a viable and cost-effective substitute. ​

In China, customers built up safety stocks during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in order to ensure sufficient supply given the logistical challenges at that time. Following lockdowns lifting, consumption gradually returned to a more normal pattern in the second half of the year. Increased concern with healthy nutrition in the aftermath of the crisis led to strong demand for milk.

However, the Japanese market witnessed unfavorable seasonal changes, and the impact of COVID-19 reduced the demand for milk packaging cartons used for school lunch offerings. The market witnessed observed stagnation until the lowdown period. However, the market is expected to grow further in the forecast period post normalization of the region’s pandemic. For instance, SIG witnessed a decline in the cartons’ sales as many of the school milk programs were suspended, which temporarily affected the company.

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In India, one of the largest dairy product producers is Amul, sells 5% of its milk in cartons. Amul produces 26 million liters of milk daily to feed the growing population in India, and the outbreak of COVID-19 did not impact the production of milk in the country. However, the milk packaging in cartons was hampered as the liquid carton manufacturing facilities were halted across the country temporarily. Also, Tetra Pak India, which manufactures the packaging materials, had to stop operations after the government called for the lockdown. However, the company resumed operations as soon as milk was listed under essential commodity by the country’s Union government.

According to Dairy Australia, the monthly volume production of milk was at the highest in October 2022, having a volume production of 982.5 million and decreased to 623.8 million in 2022 June primarily due to the impact of COVID-19. This was slightly offset for the production of the paperboard cartons in the country. However, the vendors in the market have been focusing on technological advancements, smart packaging, among others.

Competitive Landscape

The liquid packaging market is quite fragmented because of the presence of large players like Elopak, Evergreen Packaging LLC, SIG Global Pte. Ltd, etc., and local players in this industry. Moreover, the rising partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions are predicted to supplement this industry’s market growth in the coming years. The growing environmental concerns like the overuse of plastic packaging, recyclable nature of carton packs, and convenience over the use of glass packaging are some of the factors that will help boost the liquid packaging industry. Innovations in liquid packaging like recycled paper and lightweight packaging are the drivers for this industry.

June 2022 – ELOPAK AS launched a new range of product names Pure-Pak Imagine, one of the most environmentally friendly cartons. It’s a modern version of the original Pure-Pak carton, designed with an easy opening feature.

October 2022 – Clover Sonoma has partnered with Evergreen Packaging to shift its half-gallon organic milk to the PlantCarton package with Renewable Plus Cartons.

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