Fresh Produce Packaging

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Packaging

This study analyzes the US market for produce packaging. Produce is defined as fresh, minimally processed fruits and vegetables, and for the purposes of this report includes salad mixes and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

Products covered include the following:

  • retail-ready and other corrugated boxes (regular slotted containers, full telescoping boxes, boxes with cut-outs for display purposes, open-top tray-style boxes, fold-over gift boxes, bulk bins)
  • plastic containers (clamshells, tubs, cups, bowls, square and rectangular two-piece containers, pails, domed containers, lidded buckets)
  • bags, including bag liners (e.g., plastic mesh, paper, textile)
  • pouches (pillow and stand-up)
  • trays and platters (including molded pulp, rigid plastic, expanded polystyrene foam, and paperboard types)
  • baskets, punnets, and tills
  • other products, including rigid plastic containers (RPCs), plastic film, foam boxes, wood crates, folding cartons, sleeves, dividers, tissue paper, and ventilation pads

For products packaged in combination-type formats – such as a tray of peppers enclosed in a pillow pouch – the value of each type of packaging is counted separately and included within each respective product segment.

Packaging includes products used by:

  • retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice establishments
  • growers
  • packers and repackers
  • shippers and distributors

Excluded from the scope of this study are:

  • canned and frozen fruits and vegetables
  • packaging for nuts, herbs, seeds, spices, and other items commonly sold in produce departments other than fresh fruits and vegetables
  • plastic and paper retail bags
  • plastic bags provided in produce departments for customer self-service
  • bag closures and separately sold lids
  • rubber bands and twist ties
  • restaurant and foodservice carryout containers, including those used for in-store prepared foods
  • packaging used for canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables
  • pallet wrap
  • corrugated displays other than bulk bins (i.e., freestanding or handing displays designed to hold packaged goods)

Demand is also discussed by produce applications.

Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for produce packaging demand in current US dollars (including inflation) by product and application. The terms “shipments”, “production”, and “output” are used interchangeably in the study, as are the terms “demand”, “sales”, and “market”, which are defined as domestic shipments, plus imports, minus exports.

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