Retort Food Packaging

Featuring 26 tables and 41 figures – now available in Excel and Powerpoint! Learn More

Food Packaging

Demand for retort packaging for food is forecast to increase 1.7% annually to $4.7 billion in 2026. Retort will remain the largest type of thermal food processing used due to the low cost and long shelf life afforded by cans for use with soups, processed fruits and vegetables, and dinners, as well as the established nature of retort processing lines. Growth will also be supported by the increasing popularity of alternative retort packaging, such as pouches and cartons.

However, retort packaging will lose share to aseptic processing. Aseptic processing affords multiple benefits over retort processing, which requires the food product to be heated in-container for an extended period of time. The most important advantage of aseptic processing is shorter heating times, which minimizes the impact of thermal processing of flavor, texture, and nutrition.

Metal Cans to Experience Slowest Growth; Pouches & Cartons to Register Strong Gains

Metal cans – the oldest and by far largest format of retort packaging – will experience slow demand growth off of a particularly high base year. Growth will be further restrained by competition from other retort packaging formats, as well as competition from other thermal processes and fresh and frozen products. In addition, canned dairy-based foods and meat, poultry, and seafood will experience especially slow growth, due to both competition from fresh and frozen alternatives, as well as competition from retort pouches.

Pouches and cartons – currently comparatively niche retort formats – will see the strongest gains due to their premium image and lighter weight while maintaining similar shelf lives. Significant demand growth is expected for processed fruits and vegetables, broth, and condiments, which are increasingly packaged in retort pouches and cartons instead of cans.

Sustainability Concerns Spur Packaging Innovation

Sustainability continues to be a key area of concern in the packaging industry and a driving force behind breakthroughs. One of the primary issues regarding retort pouches – a popular and fast-growing segment – is their difficulty in being recycled due to their multi-material composition. To combat this, many companies have released single-material pouches that are still able to withstand the retort process and are easier to recycle, as well as increasing their use of recycled content, reducing material usage, and creating their own recycling programs.

Historical Demand Retort Packaging

Historical Market Trends

Shifts in demand for food packaging from year to year are determined by a number of factors, primarily related to the production and marketing of food products. These activities in turn are influenced by:

  • demographic trends such as age, average household size, and levels of disposable income
  • consumer spending on food and the balance between at-home and away-from-home meals
  • food preferences (e.g., demand for enhanced convenience or for organic products)
  • restaurant and other foodservice industry trends

In addition, a number of competitive variables determine the mix of packaging types used and their cost, including:

  • raw material and conversion costs
  • changes in the mix of foods being packaged, particularly in terms of food format (canned, dried, frozen, fresh)
  • trends in packaging size and format, such as shifts toward smaller single-serving packages, family-size units, or multipacks
  • the proportion of food that is sold via retail channels versus foodservice establishments
  • environmental and regulatory factors, including trends such as source reduction, the use of recycled content, and recyclability

Demand growth for retort packaging in 2020 strongly increased due to a shift in product mix toward more packaging-intensive retail foods as consumers cooked and ate more at home. However, this increase was somewhat restrained by declining sales of foodservice packaging due to the extensive disruption in the foodservice industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed by a return to historical growth in 2021 as consumers reverted to their normal shopping habits and the restaurant industry recovered.

Food Industry Production Trends

The most important factor in the amount of shelf-stable food packaging needed is the outlook for food production, both in terms of the volume produced and the types of food that are popular. While trends in the amount of food produced and consumed at the aggregate level tend to be relatively stable – tracking growth in population and food pricing levels – the mix of food produced can vary over time influenced by changing consumer dietary preferences and trends in where food is consumed.

Food shipments, including milk and juice, are forecast to rise 2.2% per year to $971 billion in 2026:

  • Meat, poultry, and seafood will account for the highest share of output value, aided by a renewed focus on proteins for healthy lifestyles, although competition from meat alternatives will limit advances to some degree.
  • Processed fruits and vegetables, especially frozen products, will see above-average growth based on ongoing consumer preference for convenient, easy-to-prepare meals and side dishes that are also healthy. Competition from fresh fruits and vegetables will limit gains to some extent.
  • Slow gains for milk will reflect increasing consumer interest in plant-based alternatives to milk, which often provide health benefits (such as lower cholesterol) not found in dairy milk.
  • Snack-sized and smaller food portions will continue to be popular, as consumers look for ways to reduce food waste and engage in healthier eating habits.

Back to Top

Purchase Retort Food Packaging by the Section

  1. Retort Food Packaging

    $2,900.00

    1. 1 Executive Summary

      $323.00

      1. Figure 1-1. Retort Food Packaging Market Outlook

    2. 2 About This Report

      $544.00

      1. 2.1 Report Details

        $323.00

      2. 2.2 Study Scope & Product Description

        $323.00

        1. Figure 2-1. Retort Food Packaging: Product Examples

      3. 2.3 Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

        $389.00

        1. Table | Annual Retort Food Packaging Demand by Product Type, 2019 - 2022

        2. Table | Annual Retort Food Packaging Demand by Application, 2019 - 2022

        3. Figure 2-2. Retort Food Packaging Demand, 2018 - 2022

    3. 3 Overview

      $999.00

      1. 3.1 Historical Market Trends

        $323.00

        1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Demand, 2011 - 2021

        2. Figure 3-1. Retort Food Packaging Demand, 2001 - 2021

      2. 3.2 Unit Demand

        $323.00

        1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Demand by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      3. 3.3 Pricing Trends

        $323.00

        1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Average Prices by Product, 2011 - 2026

        2. Figure 3-2. Retort Food Packaging Average Prices by Product, 2011 - 2026

      4. 3.4 Materials Trends

        $323.00

        1. 3.4.1 Demand by Material

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Demand by Material, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 3-3. Retort Food Packaging Demand by Material, 2011 - 2026

        2. 3.4.2 Metal (Steel & Aluminum)

          $323.00

        3. 3.4.3 Plastic

          $323.00

        4. 3.4.4 Glass

          $323.00

        5. 3.4.5 Paperboard

          $323.00

      5. 3.5 Competitive Products

        $323.00

        1. Figure 3-4. Comparative Growth: Retort Food Packaging & Competitive Products, 2021 - 2026

    4. 4 Factors Impacting Retort Packaging Demand

      $402.00

      1. 4.1 Food Industry Production Trends

        $323.00

        1. Figure 4-1. Food Shipments by Type of Food, 2011 - 2026

      2. 4.2 Food Safety Issues

        $323.00

      3. 4.3 Technology & Innovation

        $323.00

        1. Figure 4-2. Retort Packaging: Product Innovations

      4. 4.4 Sustainability Issues

        $323.00

    5. 5 Packaging Types

      $2,401.00

      1. 5.1 Demand by Type

        $323.00

        1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Demand by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

        2. Figure 5-1.Retort Food Packaging Demand by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      2. 5.2 Cans

        $379.00

        1. 5.2.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-2.Retort Metal Cans: Product Examples

        2. 5.2.2 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Can Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-3.Retort Food Can Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      3. 5.3 Bottles & Jars

        $477.00

        1. 5.3.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-4.Retort Bottles & Jars: Product Examples

        2. 5.3.2 Demand by Type & Material

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Bottle & Jar Demand by Type & Material, 2011 - 2026

        3. 5.3.3 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Bottle & Jar Demand Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-5.Retort Food Bottle & Jar Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      4. 5.4 Cups & Tubs

        $366.00

        1. 5.4.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-6.Retort Cup & Tub Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 5.4.2 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Cup & Tub Demand by Type & Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-7.Retort Food Cup & Tub Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      5. 5.5 Pouches

        $357.00

        1. 5.5.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-8.Retort Pouch Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 5.5.2 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Food Pouch Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-9.Retort Food Pouch Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      6. 5.6 Cartons

        $324.00

        1. 5.6.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-10.Retort Carton Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 5.6.2 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Retort Carton Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-11.Retort Food Pouch Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      7. 5.7 Other Packaging

        $323.00

        1. 5.7.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 5-12.Other Retort Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 5.7.2 Demand by Application

          $323.00

          1. Table | Other Retort Packaging Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 5-13.Other Retort Packaging Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

    6. 6 Food Applications

      $2,044.00

      1. 6.1 Demand by Application

        $323.00

        1. Table | Retort Food Packaging Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

        2. Figure 6-1.Retort Food Packaging Demand by Application, 2011 - 2026

      2. 6.2 Processed Fruits and Vegetables

        $331.00

        1. 6.2.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-2.Retort Processed Fruit & Vegetable Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.2.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Processed Fruit & Vegetable Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-3.Processed Fruit & Vegetable Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      3. 6.3 Sauces & Condiments

        $341.00

        1. 6.3.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-4.Retort Sauce & Condiment Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.3.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Sauces & Condiments Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-5.Sauces & Condiments Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      4. 6.4 Prepared Foods

        $323.00

        1. 6.4.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-6.Retort Prepared Food Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.4.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Prepared Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-7.Prepared Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      5. 6.5 Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

        $323.00

        1. 6.5.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-8.Retort Meat, Poultry, &Seafood Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.5.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Meat, Poultry, &Seafood Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-9.Meat, Poultry, &Seafood Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      6. 6.6 Dairy Foods

        $323.00

        1. 6.6.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-10.Retort Dairy Food Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.6.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Dairy Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-11.Dairy Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

      7. 6.7 Other Foods

        $323.00

        1. 6.7.1 Scope & Product Description

          $323.00

          1. Figure 6-12.Other Retort Food Packaging: Product Examples

        2. 6.7.2 Demand by Product

          $323.00

          1. Table | Other Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

          2. Figure 6-13.Other Foods Market for Retort Packaging by Product Type, 2011 - 2026

    7. 7 Key Suppliers & Market Share

      $393.00

      1. 7.1 Industry Composition

        $323.00

      2. 7.2 Market Share

        $353.00

        1. Figure 7-1.Retort Food Packaging Market Share, 2021

        2. Figure 7-2.Retort Food Packaging Market, 2021: Leading Supplier

        3. Figure 7-3.Retort Food Packaging Market, 2021: Second Leading Supplier

        4. Figure 7-4. Retort Food Packaging Market, 2021: Third Leading Supplier

        5. Figure 7-5. Retort Food Packaging Market, 2021: Fourth Leading Supplier

        6. Figure 7-6. Retort Food Packaging Market, 2021: Fifth Leading Supplier

    8. 8 Appendix

      $2,918.00

      1. 8.1 Scope

        $342.00

        1. Table | Industry Codes Related to Food Packaging

      2. 8.2 Definitions

        $323.00

      3. 8.3 Freedonia Methodology

        $618.00

      4. 8.4 Study-Specific Methodology

        $323.00

      5. 8.5 Sources

        $323.00

      6. 8.6 Associations & Agencies

        $323.00

      7. 8.7 Related Studies & Reports

        $418.00

      8. 8.8 Macroeconomic Assumptions

        $1,855.00

        1. 8.8.1 Economic Environment

          $323.00

          1. Table | Macroeconomic Indicators, 2011 - 2026

        2. 8.8.2 Demographic Trends

          $323.00

          1. Table | Population & Households, 2011 - 2026

        3. 8.8.3 Consumer Spending

          $323.00

          1. Table | Personal Consumption Expenditures & Retail Sales, 2011 - 2026

        4. 8.8.4 Retail Sales

          $1,067.00

          1. Table | Nondurable Goods Retail Sales, 2011 - 2026

Back to Top