Flexible Packaging Market Report - Europe



Is the unpackaged trend over again? Recently, numerous small stores that were committed to organic and fair-trade products have had to give up. On the other hand, large supermarket chains are trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste with reusable nets and paper bags. This is the second time Ceresana has studied the European market for flexible packaging made of plastics, paper and aluminum. This includes consumer goods packaging for end users, but also, for example, shrink and stretch films for storage and transport, labels, carrier bags of all kinds, bags for heavy loads and flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC). Ceresana expects overall demand for flexible packaging in Europe to decline somewhat, reaching about 19.05 million tonnes in 2031. However, the various packaging types and materials are developing at different rates.


European Demand for Flexible Packaging in 2021


Sturdy Bags

In many sectors of the economy, the Corona pandemic led to a sharp drop. Conversely, food retail sales grew slightly during the lockdown months: in many places, restaurants were closed and consumers had more time to cook for themselves. This also increased demand for pouches for food. However, this effect is now fading again: at the end of 2022 and probably also in 2023, many households will have to save because of rising energy costs and inflation. Demand for shrink and stretch films, heavy-duty and industrial bags correlate closely with the development of the economy as a whole: the level of 2019 is not expected to be reached again in these market segments until 2025. Transport packaging benefits from the still growing volume of internet trade. The ongoing convenience trend is driving demand for stand-up pouches, where composite films enable weight reduction compared to rigid packaging. For pharmaceutical products, the trend in the packaging market continues to be towards pre-portioned individual packaging for medicines, for example disposable sachets.

Less Plastic, More Paper

The European Union's "Green Deal" and "Plastics Strategy" are starting to take effect: thin plastic carrier bags and shirt bags are being banned or subjected to fees in more and more EU countries. Their demand is declining. They are often replaced by paper bags and pouches, but these are not necessarily sustainable either. At the same time, the demand for trash bags is increasing because fewer and fewer carrier bags are finding a secondary use as trash bags. Market researchers at Ceresana expect this trend to continue until around 2026, when demand for trash bags is expected to fall slightly again. By contrast, paper is often being replaced by plastic alternatives in the case of labels. Overall, Ceresana expects growth in demand for packaging films to resume from 2024 onwards, although this will be hampered by environmental policy measures to combat plastic waste as well as by higher manufacturing costs.


Overview of the Study:

In Chapter 1, the demand for flexible packaging is given in tonnes for Europe as a whole, broken down into:

  • packaging films
  • bags and sacks
  • shrink and stretch films
  • labels
  • other packaging.

While the focus is primarily on plastics, the materials aluminum and paper are also taken into account.

Chapter 2 provides an in-depth examination of the various types of flexible packaging made of plastic and paper: data on the development of demand for packaging films, bags and sacks, shrink and stretch films, labels and other packaging, each broken down for 19 national markets in Europe.

Demand in the various countries is broken down by packaging materials:

  • polyethylene
  • polypropylene
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • other plastics
  • paper
  • aluminum.

In addition, the market analysis sheds light on the application areas of flexible packaging: The areas "food and beverages," "consumer non-food," "heavy-duty and transport," and "carrier bags" are examined for the eight largest markets (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Turkey) as well as for the aggregate of other European countries.

Chapter 3 provides company profiles of the most important manufacturers of flexible packaging, clearly arranged according to contact details, revenues, profit, product range, production sites, brief profile as well as product types and application areas. Detailed profiles are provided by 76 manufacturers, such as alesco GmbH & Co. KG, Bemis Europe Flexible Packaging, Graphic Packaging Holding Company, Leipa Georg Leinfelder GmbH, Mitsubishi Polyester Film GmbH, Papier-Mettler KG, Polifilm GmbH, RKW SE, Sappi Europe, Südpack Verpackungen GmbH & Co. KG, Taghleef Industries LLC, and Treofan Group.


Scope of the Report:



Base Year


Trend Period

2019 - 2031

Forecast Period

2022 - 2031




Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Other Plastics, Paper, Aluminum

Application Area

Packaging Films, Bags and Sacks, Shrink and Stretch Films, Labels, Other Packaging

Company Profiles

alesco GmbH & Co. KG, Bemis Europe Flexible Packaging, Graphic Packaging Holding Company, Leipa Georg Leinfelder GmbH, Mitsubishi Polyester Film GmbH, Papier-Mettler KG, Polifilm GmbH, RKW SE, Sappi Europe, Südpack Verpackungen GmbH & Co. KG, Taghleef Industries LLC, and Treofan Group (Selection)


2nd edition


November 2022



How high is the European consumption of flexible packaging expected to be by 2031?

We expect total demand for flexible packaging in Europe to reach a volume of around 19.05 million tonnes by 2031.


Which factors are affecting the market for flexible packaging?

In many sectors, the Corona pandemic affected the market for flexible packaging. Further, the European Union's "Green Deal" and "Plastics Strategy" are starting to take effect.

1 Market Data: Europe

1.1 Demand

1.2 Packaging Types
1.2.1 Packaging films - plastics
1.2.2 Bags and sacks - plastics
1.2.3 Shrink and stretch films - plastics
1.2.4 Labels - paper
1.2.5 Bags and sacks - paper
1.2.6 Other packaging - paper
1.2.7 Foil - aluminum

1.3 Materials
1.3.1 Polyethylene
1.3.2 Polypropylene
1.3.3 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
1.3.4 Polyvinyl chloride
1.3.5 Other plastics
1.3.6 Plastics - Total
1.3.7 Paper - Total
1.3.8 Aluminum - Total

1.4 Applications
1.4.1 Food and beverages
1.4.2 Consumer non-food
1.4.3 Heavy-duty and transport
1.4.4 Carrier bags

2 Market Data: Countries

(For each country: demand per materials, packaging types, and applications)

2.1 Austria
2.2 Belgium
2.3 Czechia
2.4 Finland
2.5 France
2.6 Germany
2.7 Greece
2.8 Hungary
2.9 Italy
2.10 Norway
2.11 Poland
2.12 Portugal
2.13 Romania
2.14 Russia
2.15 Spain
2.16 Sweden
2.17 The Netherlands
2.18 Turkey
2.19 United Kingdom
2.20 Other Europe

3 Company Profiles*

Austria (3 Producers)
Belgium (2)
Croatia (1)
Czechia (2)
Denmark (1)
Finland (4)
France (1)
Germany (18)
Greece (1)
Hungary (1)
Italy (11)
Lithuania (1)
Luxembourg (2)
Poland (3)
Spain (3)
Sweden (2)
Switzerland (6)
The Netherlands (1)
Turkey (2)
Ukraine (1)
United Kingdom (10)


*Note: The profiles are assigned to the country in which the company or holding is headquartered. Profiles also include JVs and subsidiaries.

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