A new Caps & Closures study from Freedonia Group Inc. has found that U.S. demand to reach $9.5 billion by 2014 U.S. demand, with unit demand exceeding 270 billion. Researchers found that advances will be driven by the popularity of value-added designs such as child-resistant closures (CRCs) and dispensing closures, with the latter offering increased convenience and controlled product release in numerous applications.
The study found that rubber and plastic closures to offer best opportunities. Plastic closures, by far are expected to be the dominant closure material in value and units. Plastic closures are predicted to experience above-average growth, reflecting further inroads by plastic containers into markets once dominated by glass and metal, and solid gains for value-added closure types such as dispensing and CRCs. In addition, plastic closures are projected to continue to replace metal closures on glass food containers. However, unit and value advances is expected to decelerate from the 2004-2009 pace based on the maturity of several beverage applications and the lightweighting of closures for sustainability and cost reduction. Additionally, prospects for plastic caps and closures might be moderated by competition from packaging formats that do not typically use closures, such as stand-up pouches and blister packs. The increasing use of peelable lidding instead of rigid lids in single-serving cups is also expected to restrict expansion.
Synthetic cork closures are expected to see continued solid growth due to what researchers state are performance and cost advantages over natural corks. In addition, these prospects are projected to be aided by rising wine consumption, due in part to the aging of the U.S. population and wine's increasing position as not only a beverage consumed at social events but also accompanying everyday meals. According to the study, tubber stopper demand will register the fastest gains, driven by upward trends in the devel opment and production of parenteral drugs and solutions and the adaptation of an expanding range of parenteral medication and vaccines to prefillable syringes.
Aggregate unit demand for metal caps and closures is expected to remain essentially flat, as metal closures lose further ground to plastic closures based on the ongoing supplantation of glass containers by plastic alternatives and compatible plastic closures. However, the overall outlook masks well-above average growth in aluminum roll-on closures for wine packaging. Researchers note that problems of "cork taint" have enabled aluminum rollons to capture more of the wine market in recent years as alternatives to natural and synthetic corks.
The study found pharmaceuticals to be fastest growing segment in the closures market. Researchers state that the pharmaceutical market will register the fastest gains, aided by above-average growth among older segments of the population, which comprise many of the most intensive consumers of pharmaceuticals. In addition, opportunities could be helped by the adoption of stricter regulations and standards governing the child-resistant, senior-friendly and security features of pharmaceutical packaging. However, demand is expected to be moderated somewhat by the increasing use of blister packs and other closure-less containers, e.g., strip packs and pouches, in the unit dose packaging of medication. While beverages will remain by far the largest segment in the closures market in unit terms, researchers state, demand will lag the overall average and will decelerate from the 2004-2009 period based on the maturity of large-volume markets such as carbonated soft drinks and beer, along with a slowdown in bottled water growth due to environmental concerns.