The value of the global food packaging market has been forecast to reach a valuation of $329 billion by the end of 2012.Key factors behind the growth in this market include the rising income per capita, increased employment opportunities and the desire to emulate their western counterparts. All of these factors are leading to customers demanding more from their packaged goods.Furthermore, a rebound in fresh produce production and growth in consumer spending as the economy recovers from the recession look set to drive growth in the food packaging market.The fundamental idea behind food packaging is to ensure that the product is contained, protected / preserved and secure while being distributed or stored. The packaging is aimed at providing convenience for both supplier and customer during the sale and consumption of the product.The most commonly used form of packaging used in the food and drinks industry is plastic. Easily shaped, light, provides a vast range of colours and the majority of plastics can be easily printed.In the drinks industry plastic packaging is widely used. Take a large water bottle made from polycarbonate, it is relatively strong for its weight, is printable and can be labelled. A carbonated drinks bottle made from PET can also be labelled or printed and is easily shaped. These are usually manufactured with a mixture of injection and stretch blow moulding.The developed regions in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific food packaging markets have lower growth rates as the markets are saturated and consumer confidences diminishes due to the euro-zone debt crisis.