Demand for pouches used in processed food applications is forecast to increase 4.0% annually to $2.4 billion, equivalent to 20.0 billion units in 2024. Gains will be driven by further conversions from rigid containers such as metal cans, glass jars, and paperboard boxes and other flexible formats such as bags and film wrap based on pouches’ good functionality and superior convenience:
Dry foods will continue to account for close to 60% of processed food pouch sales, supported by the high penetration of pillow pouches in breakfast cereals, rice, and pastas, and the widespread use of side seal pouches for seasonings, powdered creamers, and drink mixes. The best opportunities for growth among dry food applications will be for stand-up pouches in the packaging of premium, organic, and other specialty foods (e.g., organic pastas and beans, gluten-free pancake and waffle mixes).
Across all major processed food applications, stand-up pouches are forecast to outperform flat (pillow and side seal) types due to their advantages, including enhanced shelf appeal and visibility, and ability to incorporate convenience features such as spouts and easy-to-use closures.
Among stand-up pouches, inverted pouches are seeing rapid adoption in condiment applications such as peanut butter and barbecue sauce, as well as in other processed foods such as sour cream and yogurt. These pouches offer superior convenience – with no need to unscrew a lid – as well as product differentiation and reduced product waste.
Demand for pouches in processed food applications will continue to rise at a healthy pace in the near term, supported by consumer stockpiling of frozen and shelf-stable foods amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are purchasing higher quantities of frozen and nonperishable items to support more at-home cooking in place of restaurant visits, as well as to reduce the frequency of grocery store trips. Stockpiling to safeguard against shortages of certain food items also contributed to processed food sales throughout 2020.