US demand for foodservice packaging to reach $7.9 billion in 2014

US demand for foodservice packaging is forecast to climb 2.5 per cent per year to $7.9 billion in 2014. Growth will be driven by rising disposable personal income levels and expanding foodservice revenues as consumers continue to favour convenient, ready-to-eat foods that provide a change of pace from meals prepared at home. These and other trends are presented in Foodservice Packaging: Bulk & Portion Control, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Flexible packaging demand will outpace rigid packaging, advancing 3.3 per cent per annum to $3.6 billion in 2014. Concerns about sustainability and environmental friendliness will continue to impact all areas of the packaging industry, benefiting flexible foodservice packaging since such packaging occupies less space in landfills and consumes less material than rigid alternatives. Pouches are expected to post the fastest gains of all flexible foodservice packaging types, with growth often coming at the expense of metal cans. Bags and sacks will remain the leading flexible packaging format in foodservice uses. Rigid foodservice packaging demand is expected to increase 1.9 per cent per year to $4.3 billion in 2014. Gains will be limited by loss of share to flexible alternatives, as well as a moderation in materials pricing, particularly in metal cans. However, growth will be supported by the widespread use of corrugated boxes as shipping containers for a broad range of food items. In addition, demand will be bolstered by healthy gains for plastic containers as a result of heightened use of single-serving plastic ketchup containers, which are making inroads at the expense of pouches. Demand for plastic containers will also be supported by advantages such as shatter resistance, light weight, design flexibility and effective barrier properties. Good prospects for paperboard containers will result from the environmental friendliness of paperboard packaging and inroads by aseptic cartons in many metal can applications. Fruits and vegetables; and meat, poultry, seafood and eggs were the leading applications for foodservice packaging in 2009, together accounting for 50 per cent of demand. Through 2014, foodservice packaging used in baked goods applications will post the fastest gains based on an acceleration in baked goods shipments in real terms and the popularity of snack/bakery/coffee shops such as Starbucks and Panera Bread. Solid advances in speciality processed food applications will stem from the increasing importance of pre-made food items that can speed food preparation, reduce labour cost and give the appearance of being made from scratch.

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