FPA Prez Says Flex Pack Faces Challenges and Opportunities

CHICAGO, IL, USA—The realities of the flex pack converter's future were part of Marla Donahue's presentation at a CMM luncheon Wednesday (April 16, 2003). Sponsored by Bobst Group and Rohm & Haas Adhesives and Sealants, the luncheon featured Donahue, the current president of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), who addressed converter and supplier luncheon attendees with her presentation "The Flexible Packaging Industry: Present and Future."

According to Donahue, flexible packaging manufacturers and converters face the obvious challenge of the bad economy, but she also reports resin prices, recent FDA-proposed legislation (Bioterrorism Preparedness Act), reverse auctions, Californians against Waste, and imports all pose difficulties for the flex pack industry. "Imports cause major problems for flexible packaging in the US," states Donahue. She adds, in t-shirt bags alone, 71% are imported to the US market and the trade deficit is up 16% over last year (4.5% export and 8.5% import).

Better news for the industry, reported by Donahue, included that of stats gathered via the FPA's State of the Industry Report for 2002. According to the FPA survey, converters' capital spending plans for 2003 include 90 percent of respondents reporting they will replace or upgrade equipment and 73 percent saying they will be investing in new equipment and building.

In addition, Donahue reviewed opportunities for flex pack manufacturers and converters, reporting that FPA also gathered information about packaging that consumers report as "dissatisfactory," which, says Donahue, "represent opportunity" for converters to innovate and develop solutions. Some of the common packaging she reported as consumers not being happy with: flour packaging (66%), meat packaging (63%), cereal packaging (61%), cookie and cracker packaging (61%), and sugar packaging (60%).

More information about the flex pack industry is available from FPA at flexpack.org. Contact FPA via email at fpa@flexpack.org. Learn more about products from Bobst Group at bobstgroup.com and Rohm & Haas at rohmhaas.com/adhesivessealants.

Learn more about the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in PFFC's March (vol. 77, no. 3, p14) Legal Briefs column: "Proposed Bioterrorism Regs Could Affect Converters.



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