Global demand for converted flexible packaging is forecast to grow by 3.5% pa to more than 19 mln tons in 2013, according to a study by Freedonia. Plastic films, which account for nearly 75% of global converted flexible packaging demand, will continue to grow at the expense of paper and aluminum foil. Factors contributing to the growth will be superior price/performance profile and versatility, renewed efforts to improve sanitation and extend product shelf lives in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care markets, new developments such as breathable properties, biodegradable films and high-barrier resins, increasing interest in novel value-added features, such as microwaveable pouches, resealable stand-up pouches and pouring spouts for use in convenience-oriented processed food, particularly in developed countries.In developed countries, such as the US, Western Europe and Japan, the rise in demand for plastic films will be limited by the mature state of the packaging market. The biggest growth in demand will be seen in developing regions of Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Africa/Mid East region. Growth here will outpace the global average, driven by population growth and greater urbanization (except in Eastern Europe), industrialization trends and expanding international trade will support advances in these region’s generally under-developed packaging sectors. Russian and Indonesia are also likely to witness robust growth thanks to greater investment in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment leading to improved product quality.