Demand for rigid plastic food containers is expected to increase 4.2% per year through 2022, to $7.7 billion. Gains will be by far faster than paperboard, metal or glass containers and will continue to take share from other products. Growth for rigid plastic containers will be driven by characteristics such as:
- light weight
- low cost
- crush and shatter resistance
- design flexibility and graphics capabilities
Further gains will be limited by competition from flexible plastic containers, particularly pouches, which offer additional source reduction and convenience advantages. These and other trends are presented in “Food Containers in the US, 11th Edition,” a new study from The Freedonia Group (freedoniagroup.com), a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
The largest market for rigid plastic food containers will remain dairy products, due to the suitability of plastic for all sizes of yogurt, including bottles for drinkable yogurt. These products will benefit from increased awareness of protein and probiotics, boosting demand for their plastic containers. Plastic containers are also widely used to package sour cream, butter, and some cheese products.
Fresh produce will also represent significant large demand growth through 2022, a result of the increased use of plastic clamshells for small and delicate items, previously sold loose, in bags, or in baskets.