A study by the Freedonia Group, Inc. (www.freedoniagroup.com) forecasts that U.S. demand for frozen food packaging will increase through 2011, driven largely by greater demand for convenience foods.
The Frozen Food Packaging report predicts that the market will see growth rates of 4.1% per year, to reach a value of $6.4 billion in 2011. By 2016, the sector is projected to be worth $7.8 billion.
Gains will be fueled by further demand for convenience foods, say the report authors, since these tend to use more packaging relative to their volume. Certain demographic trends will facilitate this, such as rising numbers of households where all adults work.
The frozen foods sector will also be boosted by the prevalence of microwaves and advances in packing technology.
Other factors that will lead to frozen food packaging gains are product development, increased varieties of ethnic and organic frozen foods, and an increase in the number of portion-control sizes.
Foodservice and specialties
The foodservice industry, which relies heavily on frozen foods, is also expected to show growth. In a recent report, Foodservice Disposables, Freedonia noted that Americans have increased disposable personal income and are spending more on food eaten or prepared away from home.
Packaging demand for meat, poultry, and seafood is expected to post an annual growth from 2006 to 2011 of 4.9%, while frozen specialties, such as pizza and breakfast items, are projected to post a 4.4% growth. These are the largest applications for frozen food packaging, together accounting for nearly 60% of demand in 2006.
Efforts by producers to meet customers' convenience-food requirements will lead to increased diversity and create more packaging opportunities.
Fruits and veggies
Packaging frozen fruit and vegetables and baked goods will expand more slowly. Fruit and vegetables will see an annual growth of 2.5% until 2011 and baked goods 4%.
Fruit and vegetable applications are likely to lag the industry average because of maturity of the market and competition from fresh alternatives.
However, packaging innovations will lead to renewed interest in frozen vegetables, Freedonia expects, including self-venting films to facilitate steam cooking in pouches.
The 239-page report is available from Freedonia for $4,500.