Thermoformed plastic products can be produced by heating a plastic sheet to a pliable forming temperature, shaping it as desirable, and trimming it to create a usable end product. Plastics can be thermoformed through various processes which include vacuum snapback, plug assist forming, and thick and thin gauge thermoforming. Different raw materials used for manufacturing thermoformed plastic products include acrylics, bio-degradable polymers, polycarbonates, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), and poly vinyl chloride (PVC). Thermoformed plastic products are usually lighter in weight and relatively-stronger compared to traditional packaging materials such as glass and woods. Thus, they are most-widely used in different packaging applications in electronic, healthcare, and food packaging industries .
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Based on application, the global thermoformed plastic products market can be segmented into six categories: food packaging, appliances, electronic packaging, healthcare packaging, automotive, and others. Thermoformed plastic products find the largest application in the food packaging industry. Thermoformed plastic products are used in the food packaging industry as a barrier to bacteria, odor, and moisture to food products.
In terms of geography, North America dominates the global thermoformed plastic products market due to the growing packaging industry and rapid industrialization. The U.S. represents the largest market for thermoformed plastic products followed by Canada in North America. In Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. hold major share of the thermoformed plastic products market. The thermoformed plastic products market in Asia Pacific is expected to witness high growth rates in the next five years due to rising disposable income and increasing demand for food and healthcare packaging in the region. Japan, China, and India are expected to be the fastest-growing thermoformed plastic products markets in Asia Pacific.
Increasing disposable income, increasing demand for ready-to-eat food, and increasing demand for food and healthcare packaging are some of the major driving factors of the thermoformed plastic products market. Increasing demand for thermoformed plastic products in the food industry is mainly driven by increased sales of canned and packaged food products. Increased demand for canned and packaged food products are mainly driven by changing lifestyle of people, rising urbanization, and hectic life schedule . Increasing disposable income in developing countries such as India and China is expected to increase growth of the thermoformed plastic products market. Increasing disposable income allows customers to spend more on convenience, ready-to-eat, and packaged food, which indirectly boost demand for thermoformed plastic products in the food packaging industry. According to the National Bureau of Statistics China, annual per capita disposable income of urban households in China increased from USD 2,271.0 in 2008 to USD 3408.5 in 2012. The overall annual disposable income in India median household income increased from USD 1,366.2 billion in 2010 to USD 1,587.6 billion in 2013. Increasing raw material prices act as a major restraint for the thermoformed plastic product market. The most commonly -used resins in the thermoforming process are polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, and polystyrene. PP witnessed 21% increase in price from January 2011and 20% increase since January 2012 . Other resins such as PS increases by 25% on per-pound pricing since January 2012, and 13 percent since January 2012 . Data shown here is for large-volume purchases of more than 20 million pounds per year.
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Some of the major companies operating in the thermoformed plastic products market are Pactiv, LLC., Anchor Packaging, Inc., Associated Packaging, Ltd., Peninsula Packaging Company, LLC., Placon Group, Berry Plastics, CM Packaging, Clear Lam Packaging, Graham Packaging, D&W Fine Pack, Huhtamaki Group, and Silgan Plastics.