SOURCE: Freedonia Group, Inc.

August 29, 2007 09:24 ET

U.S. Food Container Demand to Reach $23.5 Billion in 2011

CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwire - August 29, 2007) - U.S. demand for food containers is forecast to climb 3.3 percent per year to $23.5 billion in 2011, representing nearly 300 billion units. Advances will be stimulated by an expanding population base, rising disposable personal income levels, smaller household sizes, heightened demand for more convenient foods, and trends toward value-added packaging that provides freshness protection and increased convenience. These and other trends are presented in "Food Containers: Rigid & Flexible," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Plastic containers, and bags and pouches will log the fastest growth among container types, benefiting from performance attributes and heightened demand for smaller package sizes. Plastic containers will continue to supplant paperboard, metal and glass counterparts, while bags and pouches will make inroads into rigid container applications. Moderating further rigid plastic inroads will be competition from flexible pouches. Growth will be driven by robust gains for stand-up pouches based on their excellent visual appeal, product differentiation, convenience, portability, reclosability and freshness protection. In addition to replacing other containers in existing products, opportunities for pouches are anticipated in initial launches of new products.

The more mature paperboard, metal and glass food container segments will continue to lose ground to plastic containers, and bags and pouches. Nonetheless, each segment will present areas of opportunity. The relatively small aseptic carton segment will log rapid gains based on expanding applications and greater consumer interest in natural or minimally processed foods. Metal container competitiveness will benefit from the presence of nontraditional can types. Glass prospects will benefit from a premium and high purity image, key advantages with organic and/or natural foods, which are growing in popularity.

Grain mill products (which include pet food), fruits and vegetables, dairy products and baked goods together accounted for 48 percent of total food container demand in 2006. Fastest gains are anticipated for meat and related products, dairy products and frozen specialties, reflecting favorable shipment growth and expanded offerings of convenience-oriented products, which often use value-added packaging materials for extended freshness and/or more packaging per unit. Though container demand in the fruit and vegetable market will increase at an average pace, faster advances are anticipated for bags and pouches, and plastic containers for salads and other ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook fresh produce.

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