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Demand for yogurt packaging is forecast to grow 1.3% per year to $605 million in 2025, limited by slow growth in overall yogurt consumption and stagnation in the dominant spoonable yogurt market. While demand for yogurt packaging cups will be weak, healthy gains are predicted for pouches and bottles, as consumer interest in squeezable and drinkable yogurt formats continues to rise. Other factors supporting growth include:
the ongoing popularity of yogurt as a convenient, healthy snack and as a meal supplement/substitute
increasing use of value-added yogurt packaging products such as multi-compartment cups, paper cups (which provide sustainability advantages), and pouches with fitments that facilitate on-the-go consumption
rising use of higher value stand-up pouches in lieu of traditional tubs for larger volumes of yogurt to reduce food waste and lightweight packaging
growing sales of single-serving yogurt multipacks, which are more packaging-intensive than products sold individually
VIDEO COVID-19 Pandemic & Health Concerns Support Yogurt Consumption
As consumers ate more meals at home during the pandemic, they also purchased more yogurt, including trying new brands and formats. As consumer interest in yogurt as both a healthy snack and a better-for-you dessert continues to rise, introductions of innovative yogurt styles and flavor profiles will promote demand for yogurt and related packaging such as single-serve cups, pouches, and bottles, as well as larger volume tubs and pouches.
Pouches & Bottles Benefit from Growth in Squeezable & Drinkable Formats
Growth in demand for yogurt pouches will continue to outpace that of other yogurt packaging formats, boosted by a healthy increase in sales of squeezable yogurt products. Bottles will also log above average growth due to ongoing interest in drinkable yogurts including kefir and other non-dairy yogurt alternatives, particularly among health-conscious adults. In contrast, slow growth in the mature spoonable segment will limit opportunities for cups and tubs.
Yogurt Brands Aim to Improve Packaging Sustainability
As in the larger food industry, improving packaging sustainability is an important goal of yogurt brands and their packaging suppliers, with reducing the use of virgin plastics and improving recyclability representing key targets of these efforts. A growing number of yogurt producers are looking for ways to increase their use of paper, which is recycled at higher rates than plastic and has a sustainable, high-value image. Notably, in August 2021, Chobani launched a paper cup for its oat milk-based yogurt product line. Suppliers of plastic packaging are looking for ways to increase recycling rates and the use of recycled plastic content, but also to benefit from the appeal of paper with the use of higher-end wrap labels.
Packaging Formats (Rigid vs. Flexible)
In the broadest terms, yogurt packaging includes rigid and flexible products, with competition coming both between these two broad types and among the products within each of those categories. Factors that determine the mix of packaging at this level include cost and product performance, though sustainability initiatives are increasingly important.
Demand for yogurt packaging is forecast to rise 1.3% per year to $605 million in 2025. In addition to overall growth in yogurt production, the mix of yogurt products produced, and trends in packaging end users, other factors specifically driving growth in packaging usage include:
sustainability initiatives, which are promoting demand for packaging seen as more environmentally friendly, some of which is more expensive than traditional products
the continued popularity of single-serving and snack sizes, which are more intensive users of packaging (in terms of packaging cost per volume of food produced)
the need for food product differentiation, which drives demand for higher priced packaging with value-added features or improved shelf-appeal
increasing introductions of innovative yogurt products targeting consumer trends toward foods that are special in some way, such as more natural, more nutritious, or uniquely flavored
While the outlook is generally positive for yogurt packaging, growth will be limited to some extent by the following trends:
market maturity in spoonable yogurt and strong price competition due to the presence of dominant packaging customers
source reduction efforts aimed at reducing packaging volume through the elimination of secondary packaging
Rigid packaging will continue to control the large majority of demand (91% in 2025) due to the ubiquity of tubs and cups in yogurt applications and the generally higher average price of rigid food containers. Other rigid products find use in yogurt packaging, as well:
Bottles are typically used for drinkable yogurt (including kefir) and are registering above average gains due to continued product introductions.
Folding cartons and paperboard sleeves are often used as secondary packaging for multipacks of single-serving yogurt cups, bottles, and pouches. Larger, heavier multipacks such as those found in club stores may use microflute corrugated boxes.
Flexible packaging will gain market share due to its lower material use and strong growth in newer flexible formats, notably stand-up pouches. Pouch prospects will be driven by the ongoing popularity of squeezable yogurt, which is convenient as it eliminates need for a spoon. Despite this growth, flexible products will remain a small share of the overall yogurt packaging market.