The paper packaging sector is experiencing a remarkable surge in the Middle East and Africa’s $74bn packaging market, primarily driven by the booming e-commerce industry and increasing consumer preference for eco-friendly solutions.

Industry experts anticipate this trend to persist, and investments in kraft paper mills have been on the rise post-Covid, with heightened utilisation of paper packaging across sectors including food, catering hygiene, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics fuelling the demand.

The upcoming B2B exhibition, Propaper 2023, scheduled to take place from 12 to 14 September 2023 at Dubai’s Festival Arena in Dubai Festival City, will host a significant gathering of global paper and packaging companies at the forefront of innovation.

This event, which also incorporates Super Sourcing Dubai under the auspices of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, has garnered attention from industry experts who foresee substantial opportunities in the region’s paper packaging market.

E-commerce boom boosts paper packaging prospects

Majid Rasheed, managing director of the UAE’s Star Paper Mill paper industry, notes that the rapid growth of e-commerce in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and larger Middle East and Africa markets is driving demand for packaging solutions across the board.

It is anticipated that the overall e-commerce market in the region could exceed $25 billion within the next few years, further intensifying the need for sustainable paper packaging solutions.

Kraft paper market on the rise

According to a report by Data Bridge Market Research, the kraft paper market is set to continue its market share expansion. The forecast for 2020 to 2028 predicts a 3.8% compound annual growth rate for the kraft paper market in the UAE alone, reaching over $54m.

This growth is attributed to the increasing adoption of paper food packaging, particularly during and after the pandemic.

Verticals such as pharmaceuticals, personal care and cosmetics are also embracing paper packaging solutions, capitalising on the e-commerce boom in the GCC, where internet penetration rates are the highest in the world.

As the e-commerce wave continues to surge, the paper packaging industry in the Middle East and Africa remains poised for sustained expansion, offering environmentally friendly solutions to meet the evolving needs of consumers and businesses alike.