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This study presents historical data (2007, 2012, and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by products (pouches; bags & sacks; cans; cartons; bottles; jars; and tubs, cups, & bowls) and market (dairy products; fresh produce; meat, poultry, & seafood; perishable prepared foods; eggs; baked goods; snack foods; processed fruits & vegetables; pet food; sauces & condiments; candy & confections; frozen specialties; and soups & canned specialties). The study also evaluates company market share and analyzes industry competitors including Bemis, Silgan, Graphic Packaging, Berry Global, and WestRock.
Smaller-Sized, Lightweight Products Drive Growth in Food Container Market
Growth will be driven by the popularity of smaller, single-serving containers for convenience and portion control. The container product mix will continue to shift toward using lighter over heavier containers, and from rigid to flexible formats.
Key Findings in the
Food Containers Study:
Snacking Fuels Demand for Smaller Containers
The traditional three meals a day have become less common, with younger, busier generations opting for smaller snacks throughout the day. This convenience eating also assists those wanting to control portion sizes, resulting in increased demand for food containers, particularly smaller, single-serving cups and bowls. Smaller-sized packages are expanding snacking possibilities from traditional chips and candy to meet the healthy eating trends of nuts, yogurt, hummus, fruits, and vegetables.
Flexible Pouches Continue to Meet Needs of Packagers and Consumers
Pouches have expanded quickly from potato chips to a strong position in the pet food and frozen food segments, with new applications arising at a healthy rate. Markets such as baby food and applesauce are seeing fast increases in pouch usage from a low base, while dairy products and soups represent emerging opportunities. As convenience features are in high demand, characteristics like resealability, easy opening, single-serving, reduced mess, and no waste make pouches uniquely positioned to experience solid future growth.
Containers Drawing Shoppers from Periphery to Center of the Store
Processed foods certainly save food preparation time, but today’s consumers want freshness along with convenience. Because of this, shoppers are drawn to the periphery of the grocery store, where perishable foods like dairy and produce are located. To get consumers back into the center of the store, processed food suppliers are redesigning containers – in unique shapes, in different formats, with enhanced graphics, or as pouches – to draw their attention.
Source Reduction Reduces Cost and Environmental Impact
Sustainability concerns influence many business decisions, and food packaging is no exception. As firms seek ways to meet sustainability goals and reduce their environmental impact, reducing the amount of raw material in containers and converting from heavy metal and glass containers to lighter plastic bottles and jars are popular strategies. New technologies have made it possible to achieve desired barrier protection while substantially reducing the amount of packaging material, and lighter containers save in material cost and shipping cost due to decreased fuel consumption, making good business sense with environmental benefits.
This study examines the US market for food containers. For purposes of this study, a container refers to a product that houses a food item that features a closure designed to be opened by the end user. This includes both primary and secondary packaging. However, this excludes packaging such as shrink wrapped items or tray and film combinations common in meat and related products.
Product segments covered include flexible and rigid. Flexible containers include bags and pouches in both plastic and paper formats. Rigid containers include plastic, paperboard, metal, and glass applications. Rigid containers cover cartons, cans, cups/tubs/bowls, bottles, jars, and clamshells. Both retail and commercial foodservice food containers are included.
Market segments include fresh and processed foods. Fresh food segments include:
meat, poultry, and seafood
perishable prepared foods
Processed foods include:
processed fruits and vegetables
sauces and condiments
candy and confections
soups and canned specialties
other processed foods (e.g., fats and oils; coffee and tea; baby food)
Historical data (2007, 2012, and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 are presented for demand for food containers by unit and value in current dollars (including inflation); demand data by market is presented in current dollars. Also presented are historical and forecast data for raw material usage in food containers in pounds and total dollars. “Demand” (or sales) is defined as all shipments from US plants, plus imports minus exports.