The Frozen Food Packaging report predicts that the market will see growth rates of 4.1 per cent per year, to reach a value of $6.4 billion in 2011. By 2016 the sector is projected to be worth $7.8 billion.
Gains will be driven by further demand for convenience foods, said the report authors, since these tend to use more packaging relative to their volume. Certain demographic trends will facilitate this, such as rising numbers of households where all adults work.
The frozen foods sector will also be boosted by the prevalence of microwaves and advances in packing technology.
Other factors which will lead to gains for the frozen food packaging industry are product development, increased varieties of ethnic and organic frozen foods, and an increased number of products in portion control sizes.
The foodservice industry, which relies heavily on frozen foods, is also expected to show growth. In a recent report on Foodservice Disposables Freedonia noted that Americans have increased disposable personal income and are spending more on food eaten or prepared away from home.
Meat, poultry, seafood and specialities
Packaging demand for meat, poultry and seafood is expected to post an annual growth 2006 - 2011 of 4.9 per cent, whilst frozen specialities (eg pizza and breakfast items) is projected to post 4.4 percent.
These are the largest applications for frozen food packaging, together accounting for nearly 60 per cent of demand in 2006.
Efforts by producers to meet customers' convenience foods requirements will lead to increased diversity which will create more packaging opportunities.
Improved results for frozen specialities packaging will be driven by such factors as quality improvements in product type.
Frozen fruit and vegetables and baked goods
Packaging for these sectors will expand more slowly. It is estimate that fruit and vegetables will see an annual growth of 2.5 per cent until 2011 and baked goods 3.9 per cent.
Fruit and vegetable applications are likely to lag the industry average because of maturity of the market and competition from fresh alternatives.
However, packaging innovations will lead to renewed interest in frozen vegetables, Freedonia expects.
A range of new products are now using self-venting films to facilitate steam cooking in pouches. These are increasingly popular because of convenience and product quality.
Frozen baked good will also benefit from pouches. There will be a larger range of products targeted at smaller households. Resealable pouches are likely to be particularly popular.
These include many products such as soups, sauces and baby food. This sector is predicted to show high annual gains of 5.8 per cent until 2011. It starts from a smaller base and on-going product development will to continue.
Pouches and Flexible Packaging
Pouches and other flexible packaging are likely to be the fastest growing packaging type, with a predicted an annual growth rate of 5.1 per cent until 2011.
Stand up pouches should be particularly successful because of visual appeal, compatibility with upright freezer cases, convenience and resealability. They can employ higher value laminated films.
Flat pouches can offer zippers, spouts and tear notches. Flexible packaging, including bags and wraps, will grow faster thanks to greater cost effectiveness, space saving capabilities, lightness, and a general reduction in resources expended in production, says Freedonia.
Rigid packaging is expected to continue accounting for the majority of frozen food packaging but the annual growth rate will be slower, posted at 3.5 per cent.
There is a greater maturity of packaging such as folding cartons, tabletop cartons and composite cans. However prospects are likely to be boosted by greater demand for boxes with value-added features such as graphic designs and microwave susceptors which allow the browning and crisping of products.
Several hundred US firms are involved in the frozen food packaging industry, from global companies to more specialised concerns. In 2006 the top ten companies supplied 28 per cent of frozen food packaging to the US market. The report profiles 37 leading players.