Aseptic Food Packaging

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Food Packaging

Demand for aseptic packaging for food is forecast to increase 5.5% annually to $2.3 billion in 2026. Aseptic processing will increasingly be preferred over more traditional thermal processing methods such as retort and hot fill due primarily to its shorter heating times, which better maintains the flavor, texture, and nutrition of food that these other processing methods.

Aseptic Cartons Remain Most Popular Form of Aseptic Packaging

Aseptic cartons account for the largest share of aseptic packaging, and they are increasingly taking share from traditional shelf stable packaging such as cans in applications such as soups, stocks, broths, and sauces. The advantages aseptic cartons offer over cans include their lower weight, more modern aesthetic, and greater shelf appeal. However, the higher cost of these products and issues surrounding their recyclability will restrain even further penetration into these applications.

Strong Gains Expected in Every Application Except Juice

Aseptic packaging will continue to see strong demand growth in the packaging of milk and milk alternatives, soups, tomato products, and other foods, but will lag significantly in the juice market – the largest application of aseptic packaging – due to market maturity and a declining interest in the overall ambient juice category, which faces intense competition from fresh and cold-pressed juices and other lower sugar beverages.

Sustainability Remains a Key Innovation Driver

Sustainability remains a key issue in the packaging industry as a whole and especially for aseptic packaging. The composite material used in the manufacturing of cartons and pouches to extend shelf life is difficult to recycle in practice due to lack of adequate recycling infrastructure and difficulty in separating the materials. However, aseptic packaging producers are addressing this by focusing on material improvements. Carton producers are eliminating the aluminum barrier layer typically found in aseptic cartons to increase their recyclability, while monomaterial pouches are being developed that are still compatible with aseptic filling.

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