US: Convenience foods boost packaging demand, report
play a large part in the growth for converted flexible food
packing, according to a new report.
The packaging category is expected to expand by 4.5 per cent a year to $11.6bn in 2011, said Converted Flexible Packaging, published by the Cleveland-based Freedonia Group. Total demand for converted flexible packaging (food and non-food sectors combined) will grow 4.2 per cent per year to $16.5bn in 2011. Convenience Foods Demographic changes such as greater numbers of single-person households and older consumers will support the demand for more convenient prepared foods and single-serving portions, sometimes in multi-packs. This will increase material consumption as smaller portions tend to use more packaging relative to their size. Convenience-orientated or processed foods also often use more costly, higher barrier packaging materials for extended shelf life. Another recent report by the Freedonia Group on frozen food packaging demand (estimated to increase slightly less, by 4.1 per cent per year to 2011) says that the expansion in use of convenience foods will also help boost that sector. There will be some competition from single-serving and other novel rigid containers in such markets as snacks and dairy products which will restrain growth to some extent. The survey also considered converted flexible packaging for non-food industries (a smaller percentage of the market, estimated to be worth $4.9bn in 2011) and the facts and figures below also include this sector, where appropriate. Other Reasons for Growth in Demand Advantages to the manufacturer in using flexible packaging include cost, performance of the packaging and a reduction in resources used in production, over most rigid packaging. Developments in breathable and self-venting films and re-sealable features are also likely to lead to growth. Pouches Pouches will show the biggest growth in packaging type, with demand expected to grow 5.9 per cent a year to $6.9bn in 2011. This will primarily be driven by continued expansion in the stand-up pouch sector and gains for flat pouches in certain markets. The growth in pouches will also be boosted by process enhancements such as faster line speeds and the incorporation of such features as spouts, zippers and the ability to use pouches in the microwave. The recent survey on frozen food packaging says that pouches will also be successful in that sector because of visual appeal and some of the reasons cited above. Bags Bags will demonstrate a more moderate growth (3.0 per cent per year until 2011) whilst maintaining the biggest market share ($8.1bn in 2011), because of the maturity of many applications. There will also be a loss of share for paper bags to plastic bags and sacks and pouches. However, the food industry will continue to use bags widely for produce and meat products. Other packaging types Gains for other converted flexible packing, mainly wrap products, will be 4.0 per cent per year until 2011. There is a good outlook for speciality overwraps for meat products. Materials The use of plastic film will experience an above-average growth due to performance and weight advantages over other flexible and rigid materials. The use of paper will modestly decline, but use in laminations with film and foil will offer opportunities. Foils will continue to be used for specialist applications, especially where moisture and other barriers are demanded, and also provide an aesthetic element.