Food Containers to 2017: Rigid and Flexible

Published: April 2013
No. of Pages: 451

This study analyzes the US rigid and flexible food container industry. It presents historical demand data (2002, 2007, 2012) and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by type (e.g., bags and pouches, paperboard containers, metal containers, plastic containers, glass containers) and market (e.g., fruits and vegetables, grain mill products, dairy products, meat and related products, baked goods, sauces and condiments, snack foods, candy and confections). The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles industry players.

US demand to approach $28 billion in 2017

Food container demand in the US is expected to approach $28 billion in 2017. Advances will be driven by population and disposable income growth; consumer demand for foods offering a combination of convenience, quality, and value; and trends toward using value added packaging that provides enhanced freshness protection and convenience of use. Unit expansion will be aided by the growing popularity of single serving packaging, such as plastic cups and pouches, in an expanding range of applications. Such formats are increasingly chosen to meet consumer demand for food products offering convenience and portability.

Plastic containers and bags & pouches to see above average value growth

Plastic containers, and bags and pouches will experience the fastest growth among food container types, continuing to supplant paperboard, metal, and glass containers. Advances for plastic containers will be driven by advantages over glass, metal, and paperboard alternatives, along with processing improvements resulting in enhanced barrier and heat resistance properties. Additionally, while oil price increases will be more moderate than in the 2002-2012 period, faster price increases are expected for plastic food containers than for other food container materials, which will provide further momentum for plastic food containers.

continued inroads into rigid packaging applications. Moreover, inherent environmentally friendly characteristics of bags and pouches -- such as reduced material requirements and shipping costs compared to rigid containers -- will be key advantages, especially in light of the increasing prominence of sustainability factors in purchasing decisions by major retailers. A further factor that will propel gains for pouches, especially stand-up types, is the perception, especially among younger consumers, of pouches as a more contemporary packaging format than traditional container types, such as cans, bottles, and cartons.

Paperboard containers to lead gains among other types

Despite the maturity of a number of applications, prospects for paperboard containers will be helped by favorable graphics and sustainability qualities; enhancements such as higher wet strength and moisture resistance; and the capability to improve microwave oven performance in certain uses. Growth for aseptic cartons will significantly outpace that of other paperboard food containers as a result of expanding applications, often at the expense of metal cans and other rigid and flexible containers.

Continued unit declines are expected for metal cans due to market maturity, supplantation by alternative container types, and competition from fresh and frozen food alternatives. Nonetheless, cans will remain a sizeable and important segment of the food container mix based on their long shelf life, efficiency of production, economic advantages of canned items in controlling food expenditures, and ongoing demand for a number of canned items as cooking staples.

Glass container unit demand will continue to decline as a result of further inroads by plastic containers and pouches in traditional glass markets. Nonetheless, glass’ premium image and excellent barrier properties will support continued use in certain markets.

Company Profiles

Profiles for 33 US competitors such as Ball, Bemis, Crown Holdings, Graphic Packaging, Printpack, Reynolds Group, Rock-Tenn, Silgan, and Sonoco

Additional Information

This study analyzes the US market for rigid and flexible food containers. Product segments covered include folding cartons and other rigid paperboard containers (e.g., gabletop cartons, set-up boxes, aseptic cartons, paperboard tubs, composite cans, and egg cartons), various rigid plastic containers (e.g., bottles, jars, tubs, cups, and cans), steel and aluminum cans, and glass bottles and jars used in retail (e.g., supermarket) and selected foodservice bulk and portion control food packaging applications. Flexible food containers covered include plastic and paper bags and pouches. Both primary and secondary rigid packaging are included in the study in cases where the secondary packaging would typically be used beyond the point of sale. For example, secondary containers such as cereal boxes and folding cartons for multipacks of snacks and baked goods are included, whereas a corrugated shipping box or merchandise display box is not. Also excluded are containers used to package beverage products such as fluid milk, and fruit and vegetable juices. Other food packaging such as film wrap, foil, trays, clamshells, baskets, plastic food storage containers, pails, home canning jars, and separately sold ends and closures are also excluded from the scope of this study.

Historical data (2002, 2007, 2012) and forecasts to 2017 and 2022 are provided for container demand (i.e., consumption) in current dollars (including inflation) by material and market. Container sales by unit are also provided for the aggregate industry and each container material type. Resin data in pounds are supplied for plastic container types. In addition, the key strategic variables affecting the food container industry are discussed, and the industry’s leading players are identified and profiled. US market share estimates are also provided for the overall industry and for each of the major container materials.

Information and data on the food container industry were obtained from primary and secondary sources. Secondary data were obtained from government publications as well as trade associations and other private sources. Historical data are based on US Bureau of Census figures, including the Annual Survey of Manufactures, Census of Manufactures, and various pricing series reports. Trade associations included the American Chemistry Council Plastics Division, Can Manufacturers Institute, Carton Council, Consumer Specialty Products Association, Flexible Packaging Association, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Paperboard Packaging Council, and Society of the Plastics Industry Flexible Film and Bag Division. These base and supporting data were refined and adjusted in light of consultation with industry and other private sources and contacts.

Published By: Freedonia Group
Product Code: Freedonia Group211

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