An Overview of the Folding Carton Industry in north America


photo cartons

The folding carton products represent the most important material used for the packaging of goods, which is a US$312 billion industry (2012 data), with 26% of market share. It is followed by flexible packaging (21%) and plastics (13%).The main sector where folding cartons are used is for the food and beverage industry, which uses 64% of the production. Beverage represents 40% while food accounts for 24% of the market. The other main folding carton users are health care products (9%), tobacco (6%) and personal care (5%).

North America saw a consolidation of the folding carton industry in the last years. In 2000, the top 10 producers had a combined market share of 60%. In 2012, the same combined market share was controlled by the top 4. The main players are Graphic Packaging (32%), RockTenn (13%) and Meadwestvaco (9%).

Until 2003, North America was the world’s biggest market and represented 32% of the volume while Western Europe and Asia were both at 26%. Since 2009, Asia took the first place with 30% while North America declined at 27%. In 2012, Asia’s share increased up to 35%.

It is anticipated that the global market will grow by 5.1% annually for the next few years, while this growth will only be 1.1% in North America. Lower demographic growth is the main reason for this difference.

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