Demand for masterbatches is directly influenced by the growth of the plastics industry, specifically the packaging and automotive industries.
This month’s feature presents the latest developments and colour trends in the masterbatch industry to help brand owners and their converting partners align market-centric strategies.
White masterbatches in demand
Ceresana, a leading global market research institute, recently published the second edition of its market study on masterbatches.
The demand for masterbatches follows the global market for plastics. Packaging constituted the largest sales market in 2019, accounting for 36% of total demand, which includes all masterbatches for rigid plastic packaging and flexible packaging, such as films, bags, and sacks.
About a third of revenues are generated in the Asia-Pacific region, North America accounts for nearly 23% and Western Europe for 21%.
White masterbatches are the top-selling type of masterbatch with global demand increasing by an average of 2.1% per annum over the past eight years. The plastics industry uses these white pigments to colour toys, electrical appliances, automotive parts, furniture, and plastic films on a large scale.
Colour masterbatches, with, for example, colourful inorganic, organic, and effect pigments, follow in second place.
Milliken’s ColorDirection 2021 contains strong and bold tones offering brands and product designers seven colour trends that will shape the future consumer space. These hues are thematically rich and work together in harmony, enabling a visual flow.
The seven trend colours are Summer Dawn (orange/red), Soothing Earth (smooth green), Forest Walks (deep green), Majestic Skies (bold blue), River Calm (ocean tone), Floral Song (deep purple), and Proud Rose (vibrant pink).
These trend colours, which make up the Harmonic Synergy palette for 2021, provide design inspiration and a marketing roadmap to help build a customer colour experience and can be sourced through Milliken’s colourants.
These include Milliken’s ClearTint colourants such as NX UltraClear for transparent polypropylene that are compliant with safety requirements for food packaging. Reactint polymeric colourants for polyurethane add vivid, appealing colour to products without affecting the physical properties of the material.
Milliken’s KeyPlast line is available in a range of reproducible colours and includes colourants for food-contact applications in PET.
Colour predictions for 2021
ColorForward 2021, the 15th edition of Clariant’s annual colour forecasting guide, is one of contrasts, reports Judith van Vliet, ColorWorks senior designer and leader of the ColorForward team.
‘Where the 2020 palette was characterised by cooler colours, the 2021 hues are much warmer and deeper. This year’s colour directions include many translucent shades, often incorporating special effects,’ explains Judith.
‘Where greens ruled 2020, warm oranges and yellows seem to be taking over in 2021,’ she continues. ‘Blues and greens remain important, ranging from deep nightly hues to softer aquatic tones. Brights have an artificial feel and are juxtaposed with enchanting darks. The lilacs from the last edition have developed into deeper versions of themselves.’
Clariant ColorWorks’ colour trend experts have also identified four societal trends that will influence consumers over the next few years. The four trend themes are Dumb Numb, C-True, Sense Appeal, and Ubuntu. For each trend theme, Clariant presents five colours that it expects consumers to respond to.
The first trend is called Dumb Numb and is based on a growing reliance on digital devices, which makes human relations a matter of privilege. The colours in this theme include a smoky grey swirl effect, translucent beige with gold flecks, soft green, bright magenta, and red-orange.
C-True embodies the distrust towards information and brands, and at the same time the growing demand for authenticity and transparency. The colours range from warm yellow, a swirl effect that looks like marble, and peachy pink to bright green, and dark blue.
Sense Appeal focuses on neuroaesthetics, people’s individual preferences for aesthetics or the emotional response to a design. This theme’s colours include pinkish coral, deep and translucent purple, dark and translucent green, warm copper, and white.
Lastly, the Ubuntu theme focuses on collaboration and the need to work together. The five colours in this theme are reddish-brown, honey-coloured with a dark speckle effect, fury red with embedded blue, green and pink glitter, forest green with golden metallic flakes, and a dark purple.
This colour tool can then be used by plastic product designers and marketing professionals to help them make more informed colour choices for new products and packaging.
Ampacet introduces mineralised hues
Ampacet has introduced Earthy Mattes, a collection that provides an organic presence through mineralised hues.
This palette imparts a tactile frosted effect, without the added expense of a secondary process or mould change.
Earthy Mattes are ideal for PET bottles in applications such as personal care, cosmetics, and premium beverages. The colours include Peridot, Aquamarine, Bronzite and Diffused Jasper.
‘The non-gender specific colours can be customised for any colour pathway to accurately reflect the targeted brand message,’ says Linda Carroll, director of Global Insight & Innovation. ‘The frosted translucency projects a sophisticated presence while economically appealing to consumer products and packaging.’