Folding carton


Market size and evolution

The folding carton industry is very large and comprises numerous applications with a global value exceeding $130 billion (source Smithers Pira) and expected to grow for the coming years. This page focuses on the food packaging with dry, fresh and frozen versions. The cartonboard packaging offers great opportunities thanks to its advantages in terms of visibility in the shelves and from a sustainability point of view.

Market segmentation

This FMCG market (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) is extremely diversified but it comprises some key products with huge production volumes such as cereal boxes, ice cream containers and pizza boxes.

Such volumes actually hide a vast and increasing number of variants which the packaging must reflect. Sizes are also strategic differentiation and attractiveness factors.

Market legislation

The food industry is governed by stringent health standards. Beyond the mere protection of the goods, the packaging is strictly monitored as regards the inks migration. Its recyclability has become a decisive element for the consumers and a legal concern.

The products themselves are submitted to more and more analysis in terms of nutritional quality and carbon footprint. These are information which must appear on the packaging.

Brands challenges

Marketing insights

Differentiation is more important than ever in extremely fragmented markets such as cereals. The packaging must convey a strong identity and stand out in overcrowded shelves.

Brands invest huge amounts of money in loyalty programs. Their customers should identify their favourite brand and products immediately, especially with instant and recurring purchases.

Production constraints

When the formula of a product does not need to be changed, brands usually work on the design or size of the packaging in order to boost the sales.

The production must follow the requirements of customers asking for more flavours or smaller sizes corresponding to urban nomadism.

Converter challenges


Combining high quality printing and low impact on the environment is a challenge which converters have to keep up with.

Brands are uncompromising when it comes to the quality of the printing and the compliance with their corporate identity guidelines.

Consumers want sustainable packaging solutions but at the mean time they are very attentive to the quality finish.

Some of the challenges for the converters:

  • Master all colors with a limited number of printing units
  • Manage frequent changes in the packaging sizes
  • Integrate smart packaging items
  • Reach high quality printing and cutting even with recycled boards
  • Meet shorter delivery lead-times
  • Control ink migration risks

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Key figures



    million $
  • Maximum cardboard thickness




    High productivity
  • Cardboard substrates



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