The Global Biopolymer Films Market is expected to exceed 17 million tons by 2022. It had a market demand of 5 million tons in 2013. This industry is driven by the preference for renewable materials in an attempt to reduce pollution. Bio-based polymers such as PTMT (polytrimethylene terephthalate), TPS (thermoplastic starch), PLA (polylactic acid), and PHA (polyhydroxyalkonoates) may reap favorable returns over the forecast period (2016-2024).
Biopolymers are polymers made from renewable sources. These are eco-friendly because they are derived from plant or animal sources. Moreover, they have the potential to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Demand for biopolymers stems from price competitiveness and regulations favoring commercial composting processes. High costs and supply side constraints could impede market growth. But it can be resolved if chemical companies collaborate with agribusiness companies to produce biopolymers.
The worldwide biopolymer films market is fragmented according to products, applications, and regions. PLA, PHA, biodegradable starch blends, biodegradable polyesters are various products in the market. PLA had a market demand of over 300 kilotons in 2014. It is used in food applications which include hot seal overlays, twist wrap, and flow wrap. It exhibits properties, such as elasticity, stiffness, hardness, and impact strength akin to conventional thermoplastics.
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Unlike polymers, PLAs can hold or retain creases just like paper and foil. This is a key factor that could stimulate market demand during the forecast period. PLA/Chitosan or PLA/Pectin based biopolymer films are mostly used in antimicrobial (AM) packaging. PLA/pectin composites are known to restrict growth of Lactobacillus plantarum, a food pathogen.
Based on applications, the global biopolymer films market is divided into flexible packaging, rigid packaging, automotive, textiles, consumer goods, agriculture & horticulture, and others. Flexible packaging could be the largest application segment in the forthcoming years. It would generate nearly 27 million tons by 2024, at over 3.8% CAGR during the forecast period. This segment may generate over USD 106 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR above 4.2% over the next eight years.
Demand for flexible packaging will fuel industry demand for biopolymer films. Flexible packaging offers benefits, such as additional shelf life and preservation. Hence, it could witness high demand from pharmaceuticals and food & beverages.
Biopolymer films used in agriculture & horticulture are known as mulch films. They prevent the loss of humus and provide soils with appropriate amounts of carbon. Environmental concerns along with low labor costs will propel this segment. Innovation in mulch films and substantial government subsidies may result in increased demand.
Regions covered are Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and Rest of the World (RoW). Europe and North America can expand significantly because of consumer awareness and regulations supporting the use of biopolymer films. With a strong market presence, Asia Pacific exhibits high growth potential in the worldwide biopolymer films market.
Key players in the global market are Toyota Tshuho Corporation, NatureWorks, Toray Industries, and Tagleef Industries. Toray Industries has developed a technology containing plasticizer bleeding. This ensures high stability in the event of external pressures. Such an innovation could lead to greater growth opportunities. Toyota Tshuho produces bio PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resins from sugarcane. Products made from this resin are currently replacing conventional PET products.
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