Younger consumers driving US pouch demand to nearly $9bn by 2016: Freedonia

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

An example of pouch packaging
An example of pouch packaging
Consumer perceptions of the pouch as a more contemporary packaging form will help drive US demand to US$8.8bn (€7.2m) by 2016, predicts Freedonia.

The Ohio-based market analysts identified a number of factors in their prediction that the demand for pouches in the US will increased 5.1% per year until 2016.

The analysts predict stand-up pouch demand is forecast to expand 7.2% annually to $2bn in 2016.  

Advances reflect heightened interest resulting from savings achieved in shipping costs due to the benefits of lighter weight and lower material use compared to rigid containers.  

Supporting gains include aesthetics; the presence of convenience features (e.g. zippers, spouts); and the perception, among younger consumers, of pouches being more contemporary packaging format than cans, bottles, and cartons. 

Demand for pouches in the US is projected to be driven by faster gains for stand-up pouches stemming from sustainability, functional, and marketing advantages over alternative packaging. 

Consumer acceptance

Burgeoning consumer acceptance of pouches as an alternative to rigid containers will buoy demand, as will such advantages as aesthetic appeal, portability, light weight, reduced material use, and lower shipping costs than rigid containers. 

In addition, heightened use of reclosing and dispensing components will increase the competitiveness of pouches against rigid containers.

Food and beverage markets, which accounted for 79% of total demand in 2011, are expected to see growth in line with the overall average.

Additionally, healthy prospects will exist in processed food applications including frozen food and relatively untapped uses such as sauces and condiments, and baby food.

Flat pouches

Demand for flat pouches is forecast to increase 4.5% yearly to $6.8bn in 2016, fueled by above average gains for four-side-seal pouches based on rising demand in food uses such as meat, poultry, and seafood; and cheese. 

Advances will also be aided by improved barrier structures and solid gains for pouches employing self-venting films to enable steam cooking of contents in the package. 

The US pouch industry is dominated by captive production of flat pouches resulting from the cost-effectiveness of form/fill/seal (FFS) equipment, which enables in-house, high-speed package manufacture and filling simultaneously.

Due to their more complex structures and specialized manufacturing and performance requirements, the majority of stand-up pouches are preformed and purchased from converters, and then are filled and sealed by the product manufacturer or a contract packager.

In 2011, the top seven merchant suppliers of pouches to the US market --Bemis, Printpack, Amcor, Ampac Packaging, Exopack, Sealed Air, and Sonoco Products -- combined accounted for 35% of sales in the $1.6bn merchant pouch market.

Leaders in the $5.3bn captive pouch market include Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay (PepsiCo), General Mills, HJ Heinz, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Mars, and Nestlé.

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