The U.S. food industry is forecast to grow at a steady rate of 2.9 percent (compound annual growth rate) through 2022, according to the 2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances report from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
Based on interviews from 70 food processing and packaging industry professionals in the U.S. and overseas, the study forecasts that meat and related products and snack foods will outperform the market with more than 3 percent growth. The growth in these two segments is attributed to consumer demand for portion control and convenience options.
The U.S. food industry trails the global market. While North America is the largest global market across all food segments, the overall growth of the food industry, including food packaging, is being driven by emerging markets like Argentina, Brazil, China and India.
Global growth rates for most segments are double U.S. growth rates, except for meat and related products (8.5 percent) and candy and confections (8 percent), which also have higher rates of global growth.
U.S. food packaging innovations are often concepts that are already in use in other segments, according to PMMI. In addition, innovations from other countries are beginning to enter the U.S. food packaging market. One trend of interest is a product with a film that opens during cooking, allowing meat to brown after a pre-determined period of time.
The most innovative food industry segments are:
- Snack Foods—Recycled and biodegradable materials for salty snacks; stylish, vivid graphics and shapes for single-serve packs.
- Meat and Related Products—New films to keep meat fresher longer; active labels to sense when meat is past its expiration.
- Fruit and Vegetables—Clear, tactile films to make consumers pause and consider the product; more single-serve packaging.
- Pet Food—More recycled materials in packaging; single-serve containers to differentiate niche or premium products.
PMMI says consumer demand continues to drive the industry, as noted in packaging trends, including convenience, flexibility, safety, sustainability and technology.
See an infographic illustrating findings at Pack Expo International or download the executive summary, Food Packaging Trends and Advances report ($500 for non-members). PMMI owns and produces the Pack Expo portfolio of trade shows, including Pack Expo International 2016 and Pharma Expo (McCormick Place, Chicago; Nov. 6–9).