Fresh (perishable) prepared foods will continue to be the fastest growing application for clamshell packaging through 2025, finds a new Freedonia Group analysis. While fresh produce will remain the leading application for clamshells, continued above average gains for the packaging format in grocery store deli/foodservice departments will boost growth in the prepared foods segment. Factors promoting use of clamshells in these applications include:
- Perishable prepared foods are often positioned as an alternative to shelf stable, frozen, and other preserved foods; they are meant to be eaten immediately, reducing the importance of air-tight seals.
- The transparency of clamshell packaging allows consumers to quickly see the freshness and appearance of the food.
- Clamshells double as a convenient serving dish, promoting the food’s ready-to-eat nature.
Additionally, clamshells are one of the few types of packaging to offer both high visibility and crush resistance – key advantages for “grab and go” foods where appearance and convenience play key roles in purchase decisions.
Clamshell Food Packaging Demand to Grow 3.6% Annually Through 2025
A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts demand for clamshell food packaging to grow 3.6% per year to $1.6 billion in 2025, supported by healthy growth in fresh prepared food sales and the importance of clamshells in packaging fragile items like berries, tomatoes, and cookies.
Clamshells offer a variety of advantages in retail food packaging, including:
- high visibility, which allows consumers to check for freshness and variety
- resealability, which preserves the freshness of package contents
- structural strength, which prevents bruising, crushing, crumbling, and smearing
Despite these advantages, though, clamshells will face continued competition from other packaging types, especially two-piece plastic containers and pouches.
Want to Learn More?
Clamshells in Retail Food Packaging, now available from The Freedonia Group, provides historical data (2010, 2015, and 2020) and forecasts for 2025 and 2030 for demand for retail food clamshell packaging by market in current dollars.
- fresh produce, including fruits and salad
- baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and pastries
- snacks, such as dried fruit, nuts, and trail mix
- fresh prepared foods, such as sandwiches and salads
- other foods, such as savory snacks and chocolate
This study only covers retail usage of clamshell packaging. Clamshells used for foodservice, such as those used in fast-food and other restaurant takeout applications, are not included. Furthermore, only clamshells for packaged food are included; clamshells used for self-serve applications in retail locations are excluded from this study.