Fresh Produce Plastic Containers

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This study analyzes the US market for produce plastic containers. 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:

  • clamshells
  • tubs, cups, and bowls
  • other plastic containers (e.g., square and rectangular two-piece containers, pails, domed containers, lidded buckets, shaped containers)

For products packaged in combination-type formats – such as a salad bowl containing separate smaller cups for add-ins or condiments – the value of each type of plastic container is counted separately and included within each respective product segment.

Demand is also discussed by produce applications:

  • fresh vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, onions, carrots, mushrooms celery, cabbage, peppers)
  • fresh fruit (e.g., berries, apples, melons, citrus, grapes)
  • salad

Excluded from the scope of this study are:

  • packaging for nuts, herbs, seeds, spices, and other items commonly sold in produce departments other than fresh fruits and vegetables
  • separately sold lids
  • restaurant and foodservice carryout containers, including those used for in -store prepared foods
  • packaging used for canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables
  • plastic baskets, punnets, and tills

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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