The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) recently published its annual “Report to the Members,” which provides an overview of the many initiatives and activities FPA conducts on behalf of its members. As the voice of the flexible packaging industry for over 70 years, FPA provides a wealth of significant benefits that support the success of FPA members and the advancement of the flexible packaging industry.
The report highlights current and ongoing FPA programs that ensure the environmental benefits and sustainability advantages of flexible packaging are communicated and understood. FPA’s mission is to advocate:
• To protect against potential barriers to growth, combat regulatory burdens, and build relationships with diverse stakeholders;
• To promote the advantages and benefits of flexible packaging;
• To communicate to keep members and stakeholders informed and engaged;
• To provide industry data to the membership and investment community; and
• To create networking and education opportunities to connect the membership.
Below is a brief overview of some of FPA’s activities in 2022.
At the state level, 2022 was yet another landmark year for packaging policy. While FPA was heavily engaged in several issue areas including labeling standards, post-consumer recycled content rates, toxics in packaging, and protections for advanced recycling technologies, the highest priority remained extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation. In 2021, Maine and Oregon became the first two states to pass EPR laws for packaging sold or distributed in their states. In 2022, California and Colorado passed laws establishing EPR programs for packaging, and an additional 14 states introduced similar yet unsuccessful measures. FPA developed a series of fact sheets for EPR legislation, as well as per- and polyfluoro-alkyl substance (PFAS) regulations in various states, which included legislative snapshots, definitions, elements at issue, and timelines and phases of implementation to share with legislators and other stakeholders.
At the federal level, FPA continues to advocate for a national strategy to improve, advance, and increase recycling in the U.S., including a harmonized approach to package labeling for recyclability. In fall 2022, the focus shifted drastically to aluminum foil tariffs. In 2017, the U.S. government imposed duties on aluminum products coming from China, including aluminum foil. In 2018, yet another administrative action was taken under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, and additional worldwide tariffs were imposed on aluminum products, including foil. Now, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is initiating—not at the request of the domestic industry but of its own volition—an investigation for potential additional fees on imports of aluminum foil from South Korea and Thailand.
FPA is opposed to new duties on the converter foil used in the industry as it cannot be sourced adequately from U.S. manufacturers. FPA undertook a parallel campaign to argue no circumvention to DOC, as well as to advocate directly to policymakers on the Hill and to the White House itself. It also developed a fact sheet on the trade actions, as well as a video that illustrates how vital aluminum foil is to our industry and that additional trade actions will negatively impact consumers and the economy.
In 2023, FPA will keep monitoring the legislative and regulatory front and continue to advocate on behalf of the industry.
FPA periodically conducts market research on topics that address issues and challenges facing the flexible packaging industry. In 2022, FPA partnered with PMMI Media Group Custom Research to investigate key operational challenges experienced by consumer packaged goods (CPGs) when transitioning between different flexible materials. The main objectives of the project are to:
• Uncover key operational challenges and barriers to switching between flexible materials in CPG production lines; and
• Create a best practices document as an industry guide for CPGs, original equipment manufacturers, and materials suppliers/converters on the most effective way to transition between flexible materials.
The project’s key findings will be presented during the upcoming FPA Annual Meeting, March 29–31, at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida. A comprehensive best practices report containing actionable guidance and success stories in transitioning from current flexible films to more sustainable materials will be published and available to members after the meeting.
Industry Statistical Reports
FPA maintains industry statistics and updates reports as data changes. Thus, dialogue with the U.S. Census Bureau, including reviewing data releases in connection with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures and evaluating detailed long-term consistency by FPA, is ongoing. Industry information is collected from the U.S. Department of Labor, DOC, Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, industry analysts, investment banking reports, economic analyst group Inforum, and other authoritative sources to provide a more complete and insightful picture of the flexible packaging industry. FPA’s data and reports enable members to benchmark their performance in the industry and gain helpful insights to assist them in growing their businesses.
FPA published its annual report that provides a comprehensive view of the total U.S. packaging and flexible packaging segment of the industry. The annual report is a definitive source of data and information and is utilized by industry converters, suppliers, investors, and analysts. The report examines several aspects of the U.S. flexible packaging industry, including sales and utilization levels, current profit trends, capital spending plans, industry merger and acquisition activity, projected growth areas, U.S. imports and exports, and end-use application information. For the 2022 report, the U.S. flexible packaging industry was projected at $39 billion in annual sales for 2021, up from $34.8 billion in 2020, for a growth rate of 12.1%—the highest rate in at least 20 years.
In 2022, FPA’s business & industry research committee began to streamline FPA’s benchmarking survey efforts, and several changes were implemented to help achieve higher participation rates.
If you would like more information and to participate, please contact Dani Diehlmann, FPA vice president of communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the full report, visit www.flexpack.org.
Dani Diehlmann is FPA vice president, communications.