Growing demand for convenience food and technical advances in packaging will be two of the main drivers behind US demand for frozen food packaging reaching almost $7bn in 2013, according to a new report.
The research by US-based industry consultants Freedonia Group also forecasts that prospects will boosted by a “healthy pace” of product development, rising interest in ethnic cuisine and increasing use of microwave ovens in cooking.
The report, Frozen Food Packaging, forecasts 3.7 per cent year–on-year growth over the next four years to $6.8bn.
Demographic trends, such as an increase in smaller households, will further enhance demand for single portion and other formats that employ this type of packing. Continuing high levels of households where all adults work, leaving less time for home cooking, is likely to bolster demand for the packaging of this nature, said the researchers.
Rigid versus flexible packing
The report authors said the dominance of rigid packaging – such as cartons, boxes, tubs, trays and foil containers - would continue but would experience slower growth due to maturity of the market. This sector will see its value grow from $3.655bn in 2008 to $4.325bn in 2013 – annual gains of 4.3 per cent. However, there would be above average growth in the trays, tubs and cups, as well as plastic cans and clamshells.
The growth of flexible packing during the period, however, would be marked, rising from $2.055bn in 2008 to $2.515bn by the end of the review period – an annual growth rate of 6.3 per cent.
“Flexible packaging will log faster gains based on advantages of greater cost effectiveness, space saving capabilities, lighter weight and overall source reduction capabilities”, said Freedonia.
Features that improve performance – such as self-ventilating films - and convenience attributes like resalable pouches and bags will also push demand up. The research said the use of higher value laminated and co-extruded films that enable them to stand up at low temperatures would further improve demand for pouches.
Meat, poultry and seafood, along with frozen specialities will remain the two key applications for frozen food packing in the review period- with the former accounting for 33 per cent of demand and the latter 29 per cent as of January 2010.
Meat, poultry and seafood applications are predicted to increase 4.2 per cent annually to $2.3bn – aided by rising production volumes and a perception of them as economical protein sources, as well as ongoing growing demand from the foodservice sector. Demand for frozen specialties is projected to climb by 4.4 per cent a year to reach $2bn by the 2013.
Frozen vegetables will fail to realise the same growth due to competition from fresh alternatives and the maturity of market. But the report estimates the possibility of a “growth niche” for frozen vegetables packaged in self-ventilating pouches. The ice-cream and baked goods segments are also predicted to see less growth because of limited production volume growth.