Fresh produce is driving volume demand for corrugated and folding cartons with an additional 2.5 million tonnes being required by 2017, according to a report from Smithers Pira.
Dry groceries will add 1.8 million tonnes and liquid food and beverages another million tonnes, said “The Future of Food Contact Paper and Board to 2017” forecast.
The total market will require an additional 7.5 million tonnes by 2017 to satisfy demand.
Chilled foods, takeaway foods and ready meals will show the highest growth prospects in excess of 6% annually from 2012 to 2017.
Corrugated and folding carton materials took up almost 60% of the total market, while more than 30% of the volume was in kraft papers and the remainder in wrapping papers.
Folding cartons are expected to retain their share of the total volume, while slower growth in its end-use applications will see corrugated losing market share to wrapping papers.
Global demand for paper and board materials used in food contact applications amounted to almost 22 million tonnes. The market was worth more than $53bn in 2011, and represented over 13% of the total apparent consumption of paper and boards materials last year, said the consultancy firm.
Asia Pacific drove consumption, where China alone made up almost 18% of the total market, with the US contributing a further 15%.
Demand for sustainability will boost demand for food contact paper and board by 4.6% during 2012, followed by a period of sustained growth approaching 6% annually on average over the period from 2012 to 2017.
This will create a market of more than 30 million tonnes of material, valued (at 2011 prices) at an estimated $70bn in 2017.
Regionally, the driver of this growth will be the Asia Pacific market, where Chinese consumption of these materials is expected to increase by almost 11% annually.
This will be offset by sluggish development in European demand and slow growth in other regions.
By 2017 the end result will be the need for more than 7.5 million tonnes extra material than is projected for 2012, adding almost $15bn to the market value at 2011 prices.
The report noted emphasis being placed on recycled materials, with some disquiet over the sometimes questionable provenance of some materials and the consequent fibre quality and associated risks of contamination.
“An area of unease to many producers is the perception created amongst consumers of the dangers posed by food contact materials, and there is an acknowledged need in the industry to create a wider understanding of the issues, risks and solutions facing the consumer.”
The forecast concluded changing lifestyles are driving an increase in demand for convenience and time saving, which in turn is increasing consumption of takeaway foods, prepared meals, microwaveable dishes and vending applications.
“Improving retail infrastructure in the developing regions drives demand for packaged foods, and improving levels of disposable income in these parts further stimulates this growth as consumers are able to purchase labour-saving devices such as conventional and microwave ovens.”