Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) November 15, 2013
Demand for produce packaging is forecast to reach $5.7 billion in 2017. Growth will outpace expected expansion in fresh produce production, reflecting the important role of packaging in the protection, safety assurance, and marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Moreover, advances will be fueled by the increasing presence of fresh-cut, ready-to-eat produce, which offers convenience and tends to use more value added packaging than bulk produce. Other trends stimulating gains include increased nutritional awareness and rising interest in fresh foods such as produce as a key component of healthy lifestyles.
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Boxes to remain largest type, plastic containers to grow the fastest
Corrugated boxes will remain the leading produce packaging type through 2017 and beyond based on attributes of relatively low cost, light weight, good protective performance, graphics capabilities, and a well established recycling infrastructure. Advances will be helped by the increased prevalence of more costly box types such as modular and display-ready boxes, white-top linerboard boxes, highly printed boxes, and moisture- resistant recyclable boxes.
Plastic containers will experience the fastest gains among major produce packaging types through 2017. Advances will be propelled by continued favorable, though decelerating, growth in berry production and expanding applications for clamshells and other plastic containers with whole and fresh-cut produce, both for retail and foodservice applications. Concerns regarding food safety and security will boost demand for plastic containers with tamper resistance features. However, inroads by stand-up pouches will occur in some clamshell applications.
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Growth in demand for bags and liners will be supported by cost and performance advantages, along with opportunities for breathable bags in faster growing fresh-cut produce uses. The prevalence of modified atmosphere packaging films -- which tend to be more costly than commodity films, and offer extended shelf life for ready-to-eat produce -- will propel advances for plastic bags. Moreover, stand-up pouches will find use in an expanding range of applications based on their excellent visual appeal and cost savings over rigid containers.
Fresh-cut uses, compostable materials to benefit trays
Tray demand will benefit from expanding fresh-cut produce applications with modified atmosphere packaging film lidding structures used to extend shelf life. Rising efforts to make packaging more green will bode well for trays made from molded fiber and other compostable materials. Robust gains are expected for reusable plastic containers (RPCs), reflecting supply chain efficiencies and green attributes. Solid opportunities for temperature monitoring and traceability systems will be driven by industry initiatives toward improved tracking in the case of foodborne illness outbreaks and the need to comply with new produce safety regulations.
Fruit applications are expected to outpace the overall average, supported by population growth, trends toward healthier eating, and the increased availability of ready-to-eat fruit in a growing variety of venues. Though expected to increase more slowly, vegetable packaging demand will be helped by a rebound in fresh vegetable production along with more demand for ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook products.
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