Cleveland OH, November 13, 2023 – According to a new study by The Freedonia Group, US Egg Packaging, the materials used in egg packaging are heavily influenced by the format of the eggs being packaged and the sales channel through which they are distributed. Due to the ubiquity of shell eggs, materials used in their packaging monopolize overall demand. Retail sales are dominated by cartons, while a broader array of packaging products and materials are used for processed eggs sold to foodservice.
Rigid plastic is the most prevalent material used in the packaging of eggs due to its regular use in egg trays, egg cartons, and other containers such as pails and jugs. Rigid plastic:
makes up a significant portion of egg carton packaging demand and is expected to continue to gain share of the market, aided by growing sales of high-end eggs
accounts for the majority of egg tray and flat packaging due to its strength and light weight
is used prevalently for packaging processed eggs in the form of bottles and jugs for liquid eggs
Molded fiber, which includes molded pulp, is the second largest material category for egg packaging – primarily in the form of egg cartons, flats, and trays – due to its good cushioning properties and favorable sustainability profile. In addition to being recyclable, molded fiber is compostable and biodegradable. Molded pulp, which is derived from recycled paper, may face some competition in the future from other molded fiber materials such as sugarcane.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is used almost exclusively for egg cartons, where it has historically been most chosen for its low cost, light weight, and good cushioning and insulation properties. However, it will not expand its share of the egg packaging market due to sustainability concerns surrounding the material.
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