Ever-Popular for Ice Cream, Tubs, Cups, & Bowls Continue to Carve Strong Niche in Frozen Specialties

US demand for frozen food tubs, cups, and bowls – the most used packaging for ice cream, as well as for premium desserts like gelato – is forecast to rise 3.8% per year to $844 million. Near-term growth will be boosted by surging retail sales of ice cream and frozen desserts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though decreased foodservice activity will somewhat offset overall gains. Long-term advances will be driven by:

  • ongoing introductions of innovative ice cream and frozen dessert flavors and styles, including superpremium items such as gelato and protein-packed ice cream, which often employ higher value packaging
  • rising demand for more packaging-intensive single-serving frozen food items in cups and bowls for convenience and portion control
  • rapidly growing popularity of frozen meal bowls due to their convenience and the increasingly wide range of flavors and healthy options available

Rising Popularity of Frozen Meal Bowls Boosts Sales in Frozen Specialties

Through 2024, bowls will record the fastest growth – nearly 7% per year – boosted by the rapidly rising popularity of single-serving, ready-to-heat frozen specialties such as frozen dinners and breakfast food bowls due to their:

  • convenience
  • ability to provide easy portion control
  • the increasingly wide range of flavors and healthy options that is available

A caveat to bowls’ rapid growth, however, is that frozen food bowls are most widely used in applications where the contents are intended to be mixed together (e.g., curries, stir-fry, pasta dishes, soups, stews, risottos). Bowls are less amenable to compartmentalization without additional packaging than trays, which can easily be pre-formed with compartments. As a result, bowls will not make strong inroads over other rigid packaging such as trays in applications where separation of foods is required.

Want to Learn More?

Frozen Food Tubs, Cups, & Bowls and other studies on the frozen food packaging industry are now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the market for frozen food tubs, cups, and bowls by application (ice cream and frozen desserts; frozen specialties; and other frozen food applications such as fruit/vegetables/juice, baked goods, and meat/poultry/seafood. Historical (2009, 2014 and 2019) data and forecasts to 2024 are presented in current dollars. Market share by leading supplier is also provided.