Seafood to drive growth in the converted flexible packaging sector through 2023

Seafood will continue to be one of the leading food markets driving growth in the converted flexible packaging sector in the United States, according to a new report from industrial research company The Freedonia Group. 

Consisting of pouches, bags, wraps, and more, the USD 19.4 billion (EUR 17.1 billion) converted flexible packaging market was dominated by meat, poultry, and seafood in 2018, with those categories accounting for 15 percent of demand. Moving forward, the packaging segment as applied to food is expected to increase by 3.3 percent annually, reaching USD 17 billion (EUR 15 billion) by 2023, according to Freedonia’s report.

Seafood will continue to lead the market with meat and poultry over the next three years, Freedonia analysts said, and will be supported by ongoing consumer demand for individually wrapped portions as well as case-ready and pre-seasoned proteins. 

“Pouches and bags used in the meat, poultry, and seafood markets are typically high-barrier products that help extend the shelf life of these products, which tend to be highly perishable. Additionally, a wide range of value-added features is used in this market to add convenience or marketability,” the Freedonia report noted. 

Value-added uses for converted flexible packaging in the perishable proteins market include easy-peel films; cook-in bags and films; improved leak and puncture resistance; odor control and freshness extending components; films that allow for high-quality printing; and resealable bags and pouches (using zippers or peel and reseal films). 

Demand for converted flexible packaging across all markets is forecast to increase 2.9 percent annually to USD 22.8 billion (EUR 20.1 billion) in 2023. 

“The ongoing conversion from rigid to flexible formats and consumer interest in products packaged for single servings or uses will continue to drive gains,” The Freedonia Group said. 

Key trends expected to influence the market through to 2023, according to Freedonia analysts, are: continued expansion to new applications based on advantages over rigid packaging; sustainability concerns prioritizing lighter weight of flexible packaging; and faster gains for pouches, due to increasing use of value-added convenience features.

Leading industry players in the converted flexible packaging sector include Bemis, Sealed Air, Berry Global, Hood Packaging, and the Mondi Group.

Image courtesy of StarKist


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