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Through 2025, demand for baked goods packaging is forecast to rise 2.9% per year to $4.4 billion. After an above average increase in demand in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales growth moderated in 2021 and demand going forward is expected to be in line with historical rates. While market maturity in key applications will limit gains in packaging demand, a number of factors will promote usage, including:
the importance of bread as a staple in most households
rising interest in more packaging-intensive single-serving options, such as cake and pie slices, individual muffins, and cookie and cracker snack packs
increasing sales of frozen baked goods, which typically have greater packaging requirements than non-frozen products
growing use of value-added packaging formats such as stand-up pouches rather than traditional folding cartons
packaging redesigns and expanding introductions of new baked goods options aimed at drawing the attention of consumers
VIDEO Despite Home Baking Surge, COVID-19 Pandemic Boosted Baked Goods Sales in 2020 & 2021
Despite a steep drop in foodservice baked goods demand and a surge in interest in home baking, baked goods packaging sales overall still rose nearly 6% in 2020 from 2019 levels, boosted by elevated retail purchases of comfort foods such as cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, interest in home baking started to wain as consumers resumed more of their usual routines, boosting sales of convenient baked goods options (e.g., bakery-fresh breads, ready-to-bake frozen pies) and demand for related packaging.
Pouches & Containers Benefit from Consumer Demand for More Convenient Baked Goods
The best growth opportunities in the baked goods packaging market are expected for pouches and rigid containers such as cups, clamshells, and two-piece containers, supported by increasing consumer preference for convenience-oriented products that offer portability, resealability, or portion control. In addition, the ongoing popularity of in-store bakeries will bolster demand for plastic containers, which are favored for their ability to clearly showcase their contents. Two-piece containers will register above average gains based on their widespread use with cakes, pies, and other large baked goods.
Cake, Pie, & Pastry Applications to Experience Above Average Growth
Among applications, cakes, pies, and pastries will continue to gain share of baked goods packaging demand from the more mature bread, cookie, and cracker segments. Cakes, pies, and pastries typically employ larger volumes of packaging than other baked goods because they are more delicate and require greater protection. However, even in more mature applications a shift toward higher value packaging will boost gains in market value.
Above average growth is also expected for packaging used with ethnic baked goods such as tortillas, pita bread, naan, and other flatbreads.
Demand by Application
Cakes, pies, and pastries comprise the leading application for baked goods packaging, accounting for 41% of the total, followed by bread.
Demand for baked goods packaging is expected to increase 2.9% annually through 2025 to $4.4 billion:
Growth for bread packaging will be restrained by market maturity, and low-carbohydrate diets that discourage bread consumption. Home bread baking, which received a boost in 2020 due to people spending more time at home more during the pandemic, is not expected to be a durable trend and this will provide some boost to packaged bread sales growing from the 2020 base.
Cakes, pies, and pastries will remain the largest baked goods packaging segment and see above average growth, boosted by rising consumer interest in these indulgence items as well as ongoing innovation by brand owners to improve product convenience and quality through use of packaging.
Cracker packaging will log below average gains due to market maturity, although efforts to rejuvenate mature brands through new higher value packaging formats like pouches and plastic cups will support growth.
Fastest growth is expected in smaller volume applications including flatbreads such as tortillas, naan, and pita bread.
Rigid vs. Flexible Packaging
Demand for baked goods packaging is forecast to grow 2.9% per year through 2025 to $4.4 billion. Rigid packaging will remain the largest baked goods packaging format, with growth supported by:
the continued popularity of fresh refrigerated and frozen baked goods, which are more packaging intensive food formats
growth in sales of prepackaged in-store bakery products, which generally use higher value packaging
rising use of clamshells and two-piece containers due to their opacity and sealability – particularly in premium and single-serving options
However, advances for rigid packaging will be restrained by the fact that folding cartons and rigid plastic containers are competitive products, with some of the gains for plastic containers coming at the expense of folding cartons. In addition, folding cartons with inner pouches and trays face competition from stand-up pouches in many applications as food producers look to reduce use of secondary packaging.
Demand for flexible packaging will be supported by the increasing substitution of rigid packaging with lighter weight flexible products, especially pouches. For instance, stand-up pouches’ resealability and portability make them more appealing alternatives to traditional folding cartons for products such as cookies and crackers.