Facial tissue. Hand towels. Napkins. Folded tissue products remain in demand. Growth rates in North America are projected at 1.8% annually through 2025, and away-from-home (AFH) product trends point to a 2.3% increase during that same timeframe.
On the whole, fiber-based products are in demand. The global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) across segments is projected to crest an average of 2%, with the tissue market anticipated to see even higher percentages.1
The climb is encouraging for the tissue industry, but it’s not without complications. Several years of substantial fluctuations in hardwood and softwood pulp prices have impacted tissue product costs. As a result, tissue converters are seeking innovative ways to meet consumer demand and protect margins.
Consumers are driving change in the tissue industry. Well-established and emerging markets alike are pushing for new-and-different products, but they also remain sensitive to quality, performance, and price. As a result, recent trends in toilet tissue and paper toweling continue to skew toward product premiumization and private label expansion.
The digital transformation at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or, Industry 4.0) has introduced sweeping changes to the way manufacturing and business are done in the United States. It’s simply no longer enough for OEMs to offer products. They must think beyond standard one-off transactions to providing product-service integrations that deliver value in use.
The tissue industry, like any other, has been significantly reshaped by Industry 4.0. A landscape that was once defined and fueled by competition has partially given way to leveraging the practicalities of collaboration.
Sustainability has transitioned from buzzword to global call-to-action in a world dealing with ongoing environmental crises. In the paper industry, sensitivity is heightened around sustainability given the materials used to manufacture products. In burgeoning categories such as paper towels — a worldwide market projected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 5% over the next half-decade1 — ecology is a top priority, as demonstrated by emerging trends and technologies surrounding folded products.
Away-from-home (AFH) products have become one of the most widely used commodities in the world. It’s estimated that nearly one-third of the tissue market — about 21 million tons of tissue paper every year1 — is currently designated specifically to AFH. Global demand — led by North America and Europe, and fastest-growing in Asia-Pacific countries2 — is rapidly pushing the numbers higher, especially in facial tissue and toilet tissue. The increase in these AFH products, in particular, is partially attributed to changes in consumer behaviors since an uptick in disposable income is providing more opportunities for travel, hotel stays, and dining out.3
Converting paper to tissue or toweling is an adhesive-intensive process. It requires a total of four adhesives: one used during core winding, a second during pickup/transfer, a third for ply bonding lamination and a fourth seals the tail. With greater emphasis being placed on sustainability throughout the paper industry as a whole, this reliance on adhesives has come under recent scrutiny.
The statistics are jarring: Of the 6,300 million metric tons of plastic ever produced, nearly 91% has never been recycled. An estimated 12% of plastic waste has been incinerated, and the remaining 79% is littering landfills.1
Globally, environmental conservation is a top priority. Industry, on the whole, is generally considered a top threat to resources and climate change. Recent statistics bear out the concern. Around 38% of overall global energy consumption and 24% of total CO2 emissions are attributed to industrial production.1 Continued industrial expansion suggests the percentages will continue to rise exponentially, as will energy prices since general worldwide demand for energy is predicted to nearly double by 2035.