Fresh Food Packaging Market Global Forecast to 2025

December 22,2020

The global global fresh food packaging market size is projected to grow from USD 79.8 billion in 2020 to USD 95.2 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 3.5% between 2020 and 2025. The major driving factors of the market include growing demand for convenience food items and innovative packaging solutions for extended shelf life of fresh food items.

COVID-19 impact on global fresh food packaging market

The global fresh food packaging market is expected to witness a moderate decrease in its growth rate in 2020-2021, as the fresh food packaging used for meat products and seafood will witness a significant decline in its demand. However, there will be an increase in the demand for fresh food packaging in the fruits and vegetables applications during COVID-19.

  • People are resorting to panic-buying and bulk stocking due to the fear of lockdowns. More people are ordering daily staples and fresh food through online channels, which leads to an increase in the demand for fresh food packaging. Governments of many affected countries, for instance, India, have asked the food industry players to ramp up production to avoid supply-side shocks and shortages and maintain uninterrupted supply. FMCG companies are responding by demanding more of these packaging products.

Fresh Food Packaging Market Dynamics

Driver: Growing demand for convenience food items

Fresh Food Packaging Market Dynamics

Driver: Growing demand for convenience food items

The consumer preference for convenience food items is significantly increasing. The key reasons for this demand are the shift toward a healthy lifestyle and high purchasing power of consumers. The best examples of convenience food in the fresh food segment are salad bags, fresh herbs pack, chopped vegetable bags, vegetable trays, and single-serve salad packaging. The other main reason for the rise in demand for convenience food is the increasingly fast-paced lifestyle in emerging economies. Demographic factors, such as single parents and working-class women, also contribute to the demand for convenience food. The growing demand for convenience food items is also due to the tendency of consumers to buy off-the-shelf foods, especially in emerging markets of BRICS and MENA. Thus, the increasing demand for convenience food items is driving the market for fresh food packaging.

Restraint: Stringent government rules and regulations regarding raw materials

The primary functions of food packaging are to protect the food from contamination and preserve its integrity, quality, and safety. Most of the food packaging regulatory systems include general safety requirements that are intended to preserve the physical, chemical, and sanitary integrity of the contents of food packages. These requirements generally prohibit the transfer of substances from the packaging material to the food that may be harmful to human health or bring about an unacceptable change in composition, taste, or odor of food.

For example, in the US, packaging materials that are harmful to health are removed based on analytical chemistry data. According to the European Union (EU), all food packaging materials need to be cleared based on a toxicological evaluation and published regulations, regardless of exposure. China's Food Safety Law requires the approval of all food-related products, including food packaging materials.

Opportunity: Innovations in eco-friendly packaging

Governments across the world are focusing on reducing environmental pollution and encouraging end-use sectors to opt for eco-friendly solutions. There are stringent regulations for plastic landfills in Europe. The European Union intends to achieve ‘zero plastics to landfill’ by 2025. In view of the growing concerns related to environmental pollution, packaging companies are focusing on eco-friendly solutions for environmental sustainability. Green packaging products are designed to adhere to the three ‘R’s of eco-friendly packaging: renew, reuse, and recycle. The governments of the developing countries are encouraging packaging solution providers to provide eco-friendly products. Eco-friendly packaging products are made of natural bio-polymer, which is more flexible than traditional plastic.

Fresh food packaging can be made using eco-friendly packaging materials, such as bioplastics, recycled papers, forest wood, and palm leaf. Recycled packaging materials are used widely by producers to provide eco-friendly packaging materials, including corrugated cartons, glass, steel, and paperboard. One such product is the molded pulp tray; the product is made of recycled material and is eco-friendly.

Challenge:  Managing packaging waste

The packaging industry generates a huge amount of waste. All the packaging segments, such as plastic, paper, and metal, generate waste, which has a substantial environmental impact. The rise in waste in developing countries also represents the inefficient use of resources. The plastic packaging industry generates a considerable amount of waste. In comparison to other packaging wastes, recycling of plastic is challenging and expensive.

The polyethylene segment is projected to be the fastest-growing material in the market during the forecast period.

Polyethylene is the second-largest material used for fresh food packaging globally. It is extensively used due to its low weight, malleability, strength, stability, processability, reusability, and resistance to chemicals and moisture. It provides leakage proof packaging, which means it does not allow water vapor to pass through it. It can also be heat sealed, which means the plastic can be wrapped around the food and secured with an airtight seal. The recent technological advancements in PE food packaging films show that food has a significantly longer shelf life in such packages. The high barrier properties of polyethylene packaging films are crucial to maintaining product quality, texture, freshness, as well as nutrients. Milk, juice, grocery, and meat products are some of the major food items for which polyethylene packaging is used. 

Converted roll stock to be the largest and fastest-growing pack type segment during the forecast period.

Converted roll stock is widely used in the form of bags, pouches, and sachets, among others. Converted roll stock is made from raw materials, such as polyesters, adhesives, silicone, tapes, plastics, rubbers, liners, and metals, to create new products. The roll materials vary in size and weight as per the product requirement. Converted roll stock is the most common pack type used in fresh food packaging. It provides a faster packaging process as more packages are produced per minute using roll stock on a form-fill-seal machine compared to other packaging methods. Converted roll stock reduces the cost of packaging due to the form-fill-seal machines that make bags in line continuously and reduce waste as well. It is suitable for aseptic processing as the materials can be sterilized more easily through a peroxide bath. 

Meat products to be a promising application of the fresh food packaging market.

Packaging protects meat products during processing, storage, and distribution. The aim of any packaging system for fresh muscle foods is to prevent or delay undesirable changes in appearance, flavor, odor, and texture. Consumers’ rejection of the product is possible if the mentioned quality is not met. Thus, a new technical tool is introduced in the market called ‘Active and Intelligent packaging,’ which better controls the food from contamination and maintains its quality. In meat products, converted roll stock is the largest pack type as it can take any shape and size.

APAC is expected to account for the largest fresh food packaging market share during the forecast period, in terms of value

The APAC fresh food packaging market is segmented as China, Japan, India, Australia, and the Rest of APAC. Moreover, APAC is projected to continue its dominance over the market until 2025. Increasing population, industrialization, and urbanization are augmenting the fresh food packaging market growth. China’s emergence as a global manufacturing hub has increased the demand for fresh food packaging. Cheap labor and easy availability of raw materials boost the production of these products in the region.

Key Market Players

Amcor PLC (Australia), Interntional Paper Company (US), WestRock Company (US), Sealed Air Corporation (US), Smurfit Kappa (Ireland), Coveris (Vienna), DuPont (US), DS Smith PLC (UK), Mondi PLC (South Africa), Silgan Holdings Inc. (US), Sonoco Products Co. (US), Schur Flexibles (Austria), Anchor Packaging Inc. (US), Printpack Inc. (US), Bomarko Inc. (US), Packaging Corporation of America (US), Graphic Packaging Holding Co. (US), Ampacet Corporation (US), Ultimate Packaging Limited (UK), and Temkin International Inc. (Utah) are some of the players operating in the global fresh food packaging market.


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