US demand for plastic film is forecast to grow at 2.6% annually up to 2012 as per a report by Freedonia Group. By 2012, polymer consumption in this sector will rise to 7.3 mln tons, valued at US$13.4 bln, and when additives, processing and other costs are included the market will reach nearly $32 bln. Polymer consumption in this sector stood at US$13.7 bln in 2002, and rose in 2007 to US$14.2 bln.
LDPE will remain the leading film in the US market, accounting for almost two-thirds of the total in 2012. Demand for LDPE film is forecast to increase 2.9% pa to 10.5 billion pounds in 2012, benefiting from its competitive cost structure, versatility and opportunities in areas such as produce and snack packaging, stretch and shrink wrap, and trash bags.
HDPE film demand will grow below the average at 1.4% to 2.1 billion pounds in 2012 as a result of slow retail bag advances.
PP film demand will grow at 3.4% pa to 1.5 billion pounds in 2012, driven by produce, grain mill, dairy product and other food packaging applications.
PET film demand will continue to decline as remaining applications in photographic film and magnetic tape diminish. Healthy growth opportunities are anticipated for PET film in food packaging applications such as snack foods, confections and frozen food, due to needs for higher barrier properties.
Secondary packaging, due to opportunities in areas such as stretch and shrink wrap, and retail bags is projected to grow at the most healthy pace. Non-packaging film advances will be fueled by trash bag growth. Growth will indicate film's cost, performance and source reduction advantages over rigid packaging, as well as opportunities in film products such as pouches and modified atmosphere packaging.