A recent study projects increasing demand for converted flexible packaging, in the form of lightweight bags and pouches.

New product introductions are expected to boost demand and provide opportunities for additional market penetration for pouches and bags, according to The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based industry market research firm.

Study: converted flexible packaging demand increasingIn the study, converted flexible packaging is expected to provide strong competition to rigid packaging in food applications including ready-to-eat produce, according to a news release.

Technological advances that help improve shelf life and protect packaging from bacteria and other potential contaminants are also expected to also boost demand, according to the release.

The market for converted flexible packaging should benefit from the convenience offered by the lighter weight bags and pouches and features that improve consumer product experiences should produce more retail sales and help further expand the market, according to the release.

Pouches, mostly of a standup construction, should offer significant growth opportunities and the study projects U.S. demand for converted flexible packaging to increase 3% a year to $18.8 billion in 2017, according to the release.

Demand is forecast to increase 3.6% per year through 2017 to $8.2 billion with even faster growth predicted through 2022, analyst Joe Pryweller said in the release.

Lighter weight packages can lower production and transport costs and should also help expand pouch demand, he said in the release.

The use of bags in converted flexible packaging is also forecast to increase but slower than in previous years, according to the release.

That segment is expected to increase 2.6% a year to $9.2 billion in 2017, according to the release.

The 477-page Converted Flexible Packaging study is available for purchase at the company’s website.