US meat, poultry and seafood packaging forecast

Tuesday, 06 September, 2005

Demand for meat, poultry and seafood packaging in the US is projected to increase 4.0% annually to US$6.9 billion in 2009. About half of the gains will be attributable to an increase in meat, poultry and seafood production, and half will be attributable to changes in packaging practices. Processors are expanding their offerings of meat and poultry items in smaller, more convenient sizes as well as increasing the number of items that are further processed.

Packaging's importance in maintaining the safety of perishables like meat, poultry and seafood will remain an underlying factor supporting continued growth. These and other trends are presented in Meat, Poultry & Seafood Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc.

Flexible packaging

Demand for flexible packaging will climb 4.7% per year to $3 billion in 2009, driven by robust advances for high barrier film and pouches. High barrier film demand will benefit from the shift towards case-ready meats, which require value-added packaging materials for longer shelf life and protection from puncturing during shipping and handling.

Pouch gains will result from the increased penetration of retort pouches for processed products in both the consumer and foodservice markets. While rigid packaging demand will benefit from increased meat production and favourable demographic and retail trends, slower gains will reflect maturity in the corrugated box segment and loss of share by folding cartons and metal cans to pouches.

Trays, plastic containers and sleeves will log above-average growth, benefiting from trends driving shifts in the product mix towards these items. Industry and regulatory trends will bode well for accessories such as labels and absorbent pads.

Poultry packaging

Best growth is anticipated for poultry applications, with advances driven by rising poultry demand based on a combination of a good nutritional profile, versatility and lower cost than beef. Poultry's popularity will also continue to drive further introductions of convenience-oriented items, which will stimulate related packaging demand. Such items tend to be more highly packaged or use higher performing materials for modified atmosphere packaging systems.

Meat applications, despite continued concerns over fat and cholesterol intake, will advance favourably, propelled by strong gains for trays and film in case-ready packaging and growing use of heavier, high barrier film in shrink bags for larger cuts of beef and pork. Seafood applications will be stimulated by rising demand as a result of perceived health benefits of seafood and revised government nutritional guidelines encouraging increased seafood consumption.

Meat, Poultry & Seafood Packaging (published 04/2005, 235 pages) is available for $4100 from The Freedonia Group, Inc, 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326;

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