Sustainability Is the Top Priority in These Frozen Food Applications

Negative perceptions about the sustainability of plastic have increased interest in eco-friendly alternative packaging materials, including paper, molded pulp, and bioplastics. Among key applications for these value-added materials are high-end frozen food brands emphasizing healthfulness and environmental responsibility (which often go hand-in-hand in the clean-label market). For example:

  • In March 2020, Sonoco Products introduced a 100% sugarcane-based fiber bowl for refrigerated, frozen, and prepared foods. The bowl is sold under the Natrellis brand and was developed through a partnership with packaging company Tellus. Natrellis bowls will be used as the primary packaging for PRIMAL KITCHEN frozen bowl and skillet meals.
  • In January 2020, Perdue Farms began packaging some of its frozen meat products in compostable foam packaging made from cornstarch that disintegrates under running water. The packaging will initially only be used with meats purchased online and shipped directly to consumers.

In addition, many companies – including major frozen food brands and large grocery chains – have pledged to meet specific sustainability goals through the increased use of recycled post-consumer content in their packaging products. For instance, in 2020, Unilever began the European rollout of polypropylene tubs made with postconsumer mixed plastic (supplied by SABIC via its TRUCIRCLE recycling initiative) for its Magnum ice cream.

Frozen Food Packaging Demand to Near $9 Billion in 2024

US demand for frozen food packaging is forecast to increase 3.5% per year through 2024, according to a new Freedonia Group analysis. Sales will be driven by:

  • strong consumer demand for convenience foods
  • frozen food product innovations and a continuously expanding range of healthy and premium options, which often use different and higher value packaging
  • a continued reliance on frozen foods in the foodservice industry due to their longer shelf life, lower cost, and ease of preparation
  • the use of higher value packaging – including stand-up pouches, susceptor trays, and folding cartons with high-quality graphics – to help differentiate products
  • expanded availability of products in portion-controlled sizes, with smaller servings resulting in higher packaging use per product

Want to Learn More?

Frozen Food Packaging is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the market for frozen food packaging. Historical (2009, 2014 and 2019) data and forecasts to 2024 are presented in current dollars by packaging type (including all major rigid and flexible products) and application:

  • frozen specialty foods (e.g., appetizers, breakfast foods, entrees, frozen dinners, side dishes, pizzas, plant-based meat alternatives)
  • meat, poultry, and seafood, including fresh, unprepared item as well as further processed types, such as breaded poultry and seafood
  • frozen baked goods (e.g., bagels, biscuits, breads, brownies, cakes and pies, cookies, doughs and batters, pastries, tortillas)
  • fruit, vegetables, and juice (including French fries, which are considered a potato product)
  • ice cream and other frozen desserts (e.g., ice cream, yogurt, gelato, sorbet, ice cream cakes)
  • other frozen foods, including (e.g., sauces, baby food, pet food, cocktail mixers, nondairy creamers, liquid eggs, herbs, drink mixes)