The competitive landscape of the global market for thermoformed shallow trays features a highly fragmented competitive landscape, with the leading five vendors collectively holding only about 15% of the overall revenue of the market in 2016, observes Transparency Market Research (TMR) in a recent report. These top vendors, including Pactiv LLC, Anchor Packaging, Inc., and Huhtamaki Oyj operate amid intense competition from a large number of regional, domestic, and international players in key regional markets.

To ensure sustainable returns, companies need to focus on forging long-term partnerships and expand product portfolios to match the extensive and varying needs from customers. An instance of adoption of the long-term strategy is the company Pactiv LLC. The company gathers around 70% of its revenue from top 12 consumers to whom the company supplies on agreements of around 2-3 years. In December 2016, the company invested around US$14 mn towards the expansion of its manufacturing and warehousing facility to meet the vast rise in demand from the food service industry.

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thermoformed shallow trays market

North America to Remain Top Contributor of Revenue to Global Market

On the basis of the type of material used to manufacture thermoformed shallow trays, the plastic segment dominates, accounting for over 95% of the overall market in 2016. Plastics are expected to remain the most preferred material for manufacturing thermoformed shallow trays over the forecast period as well, with the segment of paper-based laminates to further witness a loss in its already meagre share in the global market over the forecast period.

In terms of geography, North America is presently the leading contributor of revenue to the global market and is expected to retain dominance over the report’s forecast period as well. The North America market for thermoformed shallow trays will chiefly benefit from the strong manufacturing capabilities of thin gauge thermoformers in the region.  The region is expected to exhibit a 5.3% CAGR over the report’s forecast period. The market in APAC, which presently holds the second leading share in the global market, is expected to lead in terms of growth rate over the forecast period. The burgeoning food and beverages industry in the region will provide thrust to the market for thermoformed shallow trays.

Cost and Lead Time Benefits over Injection Molding Compel Manufacturers to Adopt Thermoforming

Some of the key factors driving the global market for thermoformed shallow trays are the vast cost and time benefits offered by the thermoforming technology over the conventional injection molding technology, the vast rise in use of thermoformed shallow trays in bakery applications, and the ease of customization provided by thermoformed shallow trays. It has been observed that the tooling cost incurred in thermoforming is nearly 15-45% cheaper than tooling in the process of injection molding. Furthermore, lead times in the thermoforming process are 2-3 time shorter than in the process of injection molding.

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Moreover, the market will also significantly benefit from the rising adoption of thermoformed packaging as the key packaging solution in the burgeoning food industry and rising scope of applications in the pharmaceutical industry. However, certain factors, such as the restricted scope of use of thermoformed shallow trays for the packaging of liquids and heavy components with complex shapes. The limited capability of thermoformed trays in the packaging of products with complex shapes is expected to negatively affect their rate of adoption to a notable extent, compelling manufacturers to prefer alternative packaging solutions such as cans, blisters, clamshells, and boxes.

Non-petroleum-based Products to Witness Increased Demand

The increased preference of manufacturers towards non-petroleum-based polymers for thermoformed shallow trays is a key trend observed in the market in the past few years and could be used as an excellent growth opportunity to strengthen positioning in the global market.  Sugarcane-based bio-degradable materials such as poly lactic acid (PLA) have particularly gained importance for their effective properties such as resistance to oil, printing capabilities, compatibility with food products and high visual appeal. Thermoform packaging manufacturers are further exploring non-petroleum based packaging materials to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt environment friendly approach in their business practices. 

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