E-commerce gives a Boost to the Local or Global Business of Aluminium Foil
February 1, 2021
Aluminium foil (or aluminium foil in North America; often incorrectly called tin foil) is aluminium prepared in thin metal leaves with a thickness less than 0.2 mm (7.9 mils); thinner gauges down to 6 micrometres (0.24 mils) are also commonly used. In the United States, foils are commonly measured in thousandths of an inch or mils. Standard household foil is typically 0.016 mm (0.63 mils) thick and heavy duty household foil is typically 0.024 mm (0.94 mils). The foil is pliable, and can be readily bent or wrapped around objects. Thin foils are fragile and are sometimes laminated with other materials such as plastics or paper to make them stronger and more useful.
Annual production of aluminium foil was approximately 800,000 tonnes (880,000 tons) in Europe and 600,000 tonnes (660,000 tons) in the U.S. in 2003. Approximately 75% of aluminium foil is used for packaging of foods, cosmetics, and chemical products, and 25% is used for industrial applications (e.g., thermal insulation, electrical cables, and electronics). It can be easily recycled.
E-commerce Trends for Aluminium Foil Industry
Packaging has been an important aspect for all kinds of industries. Aluminium is a preferred choice for packaging as it is highly malleable: it can be easily converted to thin sheets and folded, rolled or packed. Aluminium foil acts as a obstruction to light and oxygen (which cause fats to oxidise or become rancid), odours and flavours, moistness, and germs. This is one of the significant reasons to be used broadly in food and pharmaceutical packaging. Aluminium foil containers and trays are used to bake pies and to pack takeaway meals, ready snacks and long life pet food. These containers are easily made available on e-commerce platforms.
Rising demand for ready-to-eat food and wafers has ramped up demand for aluminium foil packaging. The proliferation of e-commerce platforms and ability to order from diverse restaurants is seen as an emerging trend which is augmenting the demand for online food delivery. This will drive consumption of aluminium foil packaging with respect to food and beverages.
Aluminium foil is also used for barbecuing delicate foods such as mushrooms and vegetables. Using this method, food is wrapped in foil and then placed on the grill, preventing loss of moisture that may result in a less appealing texture. As is the case with all metallic items, aluminium foil reacts badly to being placed in a microwave oven because of the electromagnetic fields of the microwaves inducing electric currents in the foil and high potentials at the sharp points of the foil sheet. Modern microwave ovens have been designed to prevent damage from microwave energy reflection, and aluminium packages designed for microwave heating are available. There is considerable hike in the sale of aluminium foil on e-commerce platform by home buyers for food preparation at home and hotel or restaurant buyers for parcel packaging.
Aluminium foils find high utilization in the pharmaceutical industry for packaging numerous medicines to protect them from sunlight and moisture. The utilization of aluminium foils in medicine has led to increasing demand for blister packed drugs. E-commerce bought about a trend of online selling of these pharmaceutical packaging where they helped the manufacturers for an online presence. Platforms like Amazon, Indiamart, Alibaba, etc. have amped up the sale of such products from these manufacturers and given them a global platform to exhibit their products.
Aluminium is light, robust and durable. In addition, it has excellent insulation values. Aluminium foils work like mirrors for reflection purposes. In the concrete case they reflect energy. The structure of aluminium significantly reduces energy consumption. Heat losses are reduced and so are heating costs. Aluminium foil is widely used in electrical industry for radiation shield (barrier and reflectivity), heat exchangers and cable liners (barrier and electrical conductivity). E-commerce has helped industry owners to make these products as online saleable entity. This gave a boost in the sale of these products, in spite of an obligatory lockdown during COVID-19.
The shielding effectiveness of aluminium foil depends upon the type of incident field (electric, magnetic, or plane wave), the thickness of the foil, and the frequency. Shielding effectiveness is usually broken down into a reflection loss (the energy bounces off the shield rather than penetrates it) and an absorption loss (the energy is dissipated within the shield). Although aluminium is non-magnetic, it is a good conductor, so even a thin sheet reflects almost all of an incident electric wave. Thus aluminium is a good material for implementation of a microwave-frequency.
Art and Craft
Heavier foils made of aluminium are used for art, decoration, and crafts, especially in bright metallic colours. Metallic aluminium, normally silvery in colour, can be made to take on other colours for artistic purposes. Aluminium is used to create an inexpensive gold foil that actually contains no gold, and many other bright metallic colours. These foils are sometimes used in distinctive packaging. Art supplies have been trending since a long time on e-commerce but getting restricted to home has pumped up the sale. Art enthusiasts have been ordering these supplies for home deliveries.
Foil is used by organic/petroleum geochemists for protecting rock samples taken from the fields and in the labs where the sample is subject to biomarker analysis. While plastic or cloth bags are normally used for a geological sampling exercise, cloth bags are permeable and may allow organic solvents or oils (such as oils imparted from the skin) to taint the sample, and traces of the plastics from plastic bags may also taint the sample. Foil provides a seal to the ingress of organic solvents and does not taint the sample. Foil is also used extensively in geochemical laboratories to provide a barrier for the geochemist, and for sample storage.
Global Aluminium Foil Revenue Share
Global Aluminium Foil Packaging Market Overview
The global aluminium foil packaging market is expected to reach US$ 40 Bn by 2030, with a steady growth rate of 6% over the forecast period. The high demand for aluminium foil packaging is supported by its high recyclability, strength, lightweight, moldability and flexibility. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting demand for the global aluminium foil packaging market as a result of nation-wide lockdowns and disrupted supply chains. The obligation of lockdowns has also resulted in increased need for medical supplies. These factors cumulatively are heightening demand for flexible aluminium packaging foil. Low purity aluminium foil packaging accounted for a significant chunk of the market share in 2020 and will continue to capture a sizeable chunk of market share through 2030.
Standard aluminium foil (99.5-99.9%) purity level, shall grow at a higher growth rate, facilitated by its moisture and sunlight resistant properties.
The global aluminium foil packaging market is expected to create a value opportunity of around US$ 20 Bn during the forecast period, adding 2.0X more value in 2030 as compared to 2020. With an increase in e-commerce sale, this industry is also expected to rise after the year 2020 for online selling. Aluminium foil packaging used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry shall continue dominance in the market, accounting for more than one-third of the market share, with growth rate of 4% over the forecast period.