We spoke with Stephen Harrod, author of our latest report The Future of Sack & Kraft Paper to 2027, about expected industry developments over the next five years.
Stephen spent 11 years building a market research company in South Africa, focused on the paper and packaging industry in that country, following which he spent six years in the paper industry with Mondi and JAC Labels before relocating to England. He has been authoring reports for Smithers since 2006, with a focus on global paper and packaging markets.
Q: What are the most exciting sack and kraft paper industry trends at the moment?
The most significant trend at present would be the replacement of hard to recycle plastics with flexible paper alternatives, whether in sack or bag applications. An example of this is the new paper-based packaging for the Irish farm potato business Meade Farm Group, launched in May 2021 across Ireland, Poland, France and Germany, and garnering awards in the process. This trend is evident in many end use applications and is driving the good growth anticipated in sack and bag kraft consumption over the short to medium term.
Q: What do you see as future challenges?
As with any business these days, the big challenge is likely to be in cost control, with energy prices set to escalate in the short term. Availability of recyclable materials to supply the growing demand for recycled papers could be an issue although large volumes of OCC are currently available to the market, resulting in OCC prices declining markedly.
Q: What can readers expect from the latest report?
The latest report from Smithers on the sack and bag kraft market will do “what it says on the tin”, concentrating on just the sack and bag markets and excluding other kraft paper applications as this has caused some overlap and confusion in the past. Some end use applications have been revised to reflect better the actual consumption of this material, such as the building materials market where historically the trend to bulk distribution may have been overestimated. Quantification in this report has always been volume based, with values then calculated according to estimated selling prices, and these have been reviewed in the latest report to bring them more in line with the market reality.