Produce Packaging Outlook Reported

CLEVELAND, OH | US demand for produce packaging in the US is expected to increase 3.6%/yr to $4.8 billion in 2014, according to a new report from The Freedonia Group indicating growth will be fueled by a rebound in fresh produce production and improved consumer spending in a recovering US economy.

Packaging demand will be further aided by retailer preferences for display-ready packaging to hold down labor costs and a favorable outlook for fresh-cut, ready-to-eat produce.

Preventing faster growth will be price sensitivity among consumers and competition from processed fruits and vegetables, which tend to be less costly than fresh produce and have a longer shelf life.

Corrugated boxes, which accounted for 38% of produce packaging demand in 2009, are expected to remain the leading packaging type through 2014 and beyond. Box demand is projected to increase a below-average 2.5%/yr based on more moderate box price increases than in the 2004-2009 period, the maturity of most applications, and competition from reusable plastic containers.

The reports says plastic containers will see the fastest gains among major produce packaging types, with demand expected to increase 6.1% annually to $1.1 billion in 2014. Concerns regarding food safety and security will boost demand for plastic containers with tamper-resistance features.

Fruit applications are expected to outpace the overall average, aided by trends toward healthier eating and the increased availability of ready-to-eat fruit, especially in quick service restaurants and schools. Advances for salad will decelerate from the pace of the 1999-2009 period due to the growing maturity of the segment, although gains will be supported by the increased presence of ready-to-eat single-portion salads in supermarkets and other retail establishments. Vegetable applications, which comprised 50% of total produce packaging demand in 2009, will expand more slowly due to sluggish potato production.

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US Produce Packaging Demand
(million dollars)
% Annual Growth
Item 2004 2009 2014 04-09 09-14
Corrugated Boxes 1,311 1,530 1,730 3.1 2.5
Bags & Liners 1,002 1,210 1,410 3.8 2.5
Plastic Containers 503 795 1,070 9.6 6.1
Trays 89 100 120 2.4 3.7
Other 306 365 440 3.6 3.8
Total 3,211 4,000 4,770 4.5 3.6

© 2010 by The Freedonia Group Inc.

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