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Cold Chain Packaging Materials Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Materials (Expanded Polystyrene, Polyurethane, Paper & Paperboard and Others), By Application (Food, Pharmaceutical and Industrial) and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Last Updated: April 08, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102830



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The global cold chain packaging materials market size was USD 7.74 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 8.19 billion in 2021 to USD 13.17 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 7.0% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the product witnessing a fueling demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of 5.2% in 2020. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

The rising demand for cold chain packaging products in the pharmaceutical industry globally is driving the market growth. The rise in the number of surgeries that involve a specific EPS-based packaging for transplantation of organs is leading to the high adoption of advanced material used in cold chain packaging. Besides, growing technological advancements in the medical industry lead to high consumption of these materials in order to create suitable cold chain packaging solutions. Moreover, the rise in disposable income and growing demand for packaged food from the rising young demographic population is surging the consumption of cold chain packaging materials. In addition, government regulations in several countries overuse of environmentally friendly packaging are expected to boost the paper & paperboard segment. However, high costs & complex regulations on materials used for cold chain packaging will hamper the market.

Restrictions on Movement during COVID-19 Affected Supply Chain of Cold Chain Packaging Materials

Many countries, including India, China, Germany, and the U.S., imposed travel restrictions, constraining the movement of both men and goods, resulting in disruption of the supply chain of cold chain packaging materials manufacturers. Moreover, the revenue generation of several businesses has been thoroughly distressed by COVID-19. Additionally, the pandemic had a significant impact on the logistics of the dairy industry, which is one of the key applications for cold chain packaging. The retail restrictions and shutdown of hypermarkets & supermarkets were the few factors that led to the decline in demand for food products from retailers. This reduction in demand resulted in the decline of packaging, thereby impacting the market significantly.

However, despite the uncertainties that happened due to COVID-19, the transportation and logistics for the food and pharmaceutical industries were operational due to their stature as essential products. Furthermore, the global rise in demand for pharmaceutical drugs during the pandemic led to slight growth in the market. The global demand for vaccines and the trade, logistics & transportation, and storage associated with it boosted the market for cold chain packaging.


Europe Cold Chain Packaging Materials Market Size

Increasing Food Delivery Services to Boost Market Growth of Cold Chain Packaging Solutions

Cold chain packaging plays an important role in securing the quality of the food that is being transported to long distances. The packaging is adopted in several food logistics to lessen food wastage and protect the quality. Besides, the busy lifestyle of consumers, where they wish to get the food delivered at home without going out and the rise in trend of a healthy lifestyle has led to high demand for fresh and packaged food. This is anticipated to drive the demand for cold storage equipment and packaging solutions. Moreover, the surging demand for processed & frozen poultry products in many regions has fuelled the market growth. Thus, to meet the escalating demand for food from the growing population is surging the consumption of cold chain packaging solutions to limit the food waste and support food demand over a long distance. Hence, these factors are fuelling the cold chain packaging materials market growth.


Increasing Demand from Pharmaceutical Industry to Impetus Market Growth

The cold chain packaging solutions such as vacuum insulated panels, containers, crates, and boxes are used to store temperature-sensitive products in the pharmaceutical industry. These products include vaccines, injections, reagents, hormones, cellular therapies, and treatments for chronic or rare diseases. Furthermore, a specific EPS-based packaging is used to transplant the kidney or pancreas as it requires a jar filled with preserving liquid along with the desired temperature. Thus, the rise in the number of diseases such as kidney stones and pancreas failure among the population that leads to surgeries are resulting in the high adoption of advanced material in cold chain packaging. Furthermore, growing technological advancement in the medical industry is leading to high consumption of these materials in order to create suitable cold chain packaging solutions. Therefore, high demand from pharmaceutical manufacturers is driving the cold chain packaging materials market growth.


High Manufacturing Costs and Tight Regulations to Affect Market Development

Materials used for cold chain packaging are relatively costly as compared to non-cold chain packaging. Materials such as polyurethane and EPS are quite expensive, and their use increases the overall cost of the cold chain packaging. In the healthcare and food sector, due to the high cost of cold chain packaging, consumers tend to rent out the packaging products as the payment of rent is more convenient for consumers than to buy new packaging boxes and containers. Thus, the majority of the consumers rent out the product so as to save over the high price of packaging products which has led to lower demand for cold chain packaging materials as the same package can be used more than once. Thus, this has decreased the production rate of new packaging products and is acting as a challenge to market growth. Furthermore, materials such as paper & paperboard cannot be reused, and the manufacturers have to buy the raw materials again. This increases the volume of waste created, due to which the government has applied specific regulations, which affect the market growth. Therefore, high costs of manufacturing along with strict regulatory norms could limit the market growth in the future.


By Material Analysis

Paper and Paperboard to Remain Leading Segment owing to the Need for Sustainable Packaging Solutions

On the basis of materials, the market is classified into expanded polystyrene (EPS), polyurethane (PUR), paper & paperboard and others. The paper & paperboard segment accounted for the largest share in this market in 2020. The growth of this segment is attributed to the properties of paper & paperboards such as lightweight, strength, and biodegradability. In addition, paperboard is used to produce multi-layered cold-chain containers, including pallet shippers. Tightening environmental regulations and the increased inclination towards sustainable packaging solutions will lead to segmental growth.

The EPS segment accounted for a significant share of the market in 2020 owing to its ability to provide cost-effective thermal insulation to the contained product from external temperature variations. This material is preferred to produce cold-chain containers as it provides uniform temperature control.

The growth of the polyurethane segment is due to the surging demand from manufacturers of cold chain containers. It is a highly reusable and recyclable material, hence having the minimum impact on the environment. The environmentally friendly properties of the PUR are increasing its incorporation in the cold chain packaging industry. The others segment includes materials such as jute, silica, fiberglass, textile, and polyethylene. The increasing adoption of advanced materials for cold chain packaging will drive the growth of other segments.

By Application Analysis

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Food Segment Accounted for the Major Share in 2020

In terms of application, the market is segregated into food, pharmaceutical, and industrial. The food segment held the dominant market share in 2020. The high volume of food transported across the world is the key factor driving the growth of this segment. Products such as frozen meat, exotic fruits, pulp, beverages, dairy products, agricultural produce and others are transported by the use of cold chain packaging across the world. Furthermore, the increasingly international and domestic trade activities across the globe are boosting the segment growth.

The pharmaceutical to be the segment with the fastest growth rate during the forecasted timeline. The pharmaceutical products are generally temperature-sensitive and hence are transported by the use of cold chain packaging. Moreover, increasing technological advancements, a rise in the number of organ transplantation, and the growing trend of hormonal therapy will fuel the segment growth.

The progress of the industrial segment is due to the increasing import and export of chemicals. The chemicals are stored in temperature-controlled containers in order to maintain their reactive and physical properties and are highly volatile, which requires a better and safe mode of transportation. Hence, the rising use of advanced non-reactive materials for packaging the chemicals will fuel the segment growth.


Europe Cold Chain Packaging Materials Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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The market size in Europe stood at USD 2.47 billion in 2020. The region held the largest position in the market in 2020 and is estimated to hold the leading position during the 2021-2028 timeline. The growth of the region can be contributed to the drastically changing temperature profile from country to country, witnessing high demand for advanced packaging materials and temperature monitoring solutions. Developing countries in Europe provide substantial growth opportunities due to economic development and expansion activities.

The market in Asia Pacific is growing at a faster rate with respect to the rapid economic development, exponential growth in population, and rising disposable income. Changing lifestyle choices and busy work schedules have increased the demand for frozen foods in the region. The surging demand for processed & frozen poultry food products in the region has fuelled the market growth. Furthermore, China and India are the major exporters of a variety of products ranging from foods to pharmaceuticals. Several countries in the world depend on India for pharmaceuticals due to the country being the largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical products. Therefore, increasing the demand for packaging materials.

In North America, the U.S. is a major contributor to the market growth on account of increasing technological advancements and well-established supply chains, increasing the demand for cold chain packaging solutions in the region. Furthermore, the expansion of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the region, such as Walmart Inc., The Kroger Co., and Albertsons Cos. Inc., has fuelled the demand for frozen foods, thereby boosting the market growth.

The growing demand in Latin America is associated with the development of healthcare & pharmaceutical infrastructure, along with increasing investments in private & government healthcare establishments in Brazil, which have positively influenced the market growth. In the Middle East & Africa, GCC countries are the significant drivers of the market due to their established infrastructure and high disposable income.


Contracts with Local Cold Chain Packaging Companies to Expand Presence of Key Companies

The competitive landscape of the market is fragmented. Key players have adopted partnership and acquisition strategies to grow their market presence. Major companies have partnered with regional cold chain packaging companies to boost their presence. Additionally, leading companies have introduced sustainable and customized solutions to expand their product portfolio.


  • Huntsman Corporation (U.S.)

  • Dow Chemical Company (U.S.)

  • Covestro AG (Germany)

  • Armstrong Brands Inc. (U.S.)

  • Cascades Inc. (Canada)

  • Drew Foam (U.S.)

  • Versalis Eni's chemical company (Italy)

  • Plymouth Foam (U.S.)

  • Creative Packaging (U.S.)

  • Bonded Logic Inc. (U.S.)

  • TemperPack (U.S.)

  • Vegware Ltd (U.K.)

  • International Paper Company (U.S.)

  • Klingele Papierwerke GmbH & Co. KG (Germany)

  • BioPak (Australia)

  • Vericool (U.S.)

  • Sonoco Thermosafe (U.S.)


  • March 2021: The International Paper Company purchased two state-of-the-art corrugated box plants in Spain, growing its capabilities in Catalonia and Madrid. Corrugated packaging is an important business segment for International Paper in EMEA, offering packaging solutions in the fresh fruit and vegetable, industrial and e-commerce segments. The two businesses will become part of International Paper.

  • May 2020: Vegware’s new composting collection service will see Paper Round collect Vegware compostable disposables in London, Brighton and the surrounding area and deliver the compostable to an in-vessel composting facility enVar, in Cambridgeshire. Here, it will be processed over seven weeks into compost compliant with the PAS 100 quality specification.


An Infographic Representation of Cold Chain Packaging Materials Market

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The cold chain packaging materials market research report provides a comprehensive analysis of the market and emphases on key aspects, such as profiles of leading companies, cold chain packaging materials, and leading applications of the product. Besides, this market report offers insights into the current market trends, dynamics and key developments. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, the report highlights several factors associated to the growth of the market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Material, By Application, and By Geography

By Material

  • Expanded Polystyrene

  • Polyurethane

  • Paper and Paperboard

  • Others

By Application

  • Food

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Industrial

By Geography

  • North America (By Material, By Application)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

  • Europe (By Material, By Application)

    • Germany

    • France

    • U.K.

    • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific (By Material, By Application)

    • China

    • Japan

    • India

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America (By Material, By Application)

    • Brazil

    • Mexico

    • Rest of Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa (By Material, By Application)

    • South Africa

    • Rest of the Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 7.74 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 13.17 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the Europe market value stood at USD 2.47 billion.

Registering a CAGR of 7.0%, the market will exhibit decent growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The food segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

The increasing demand from the pharmaceutical industry is the major factor driving the growth of the market.

Sonoco Thermosafe, Bonded Logic, and TemperPack are the leading players in the market.

Europe accounted for the highest market share in 2020.

Increasing international trade and rising consumer preference towards fresh foods to drive the adoption of cold chain packaging.

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