USA, Reston, Va. The US food industry is forecast to grow at a steady compound annual growth rate of 2.9% through 2022, according to the just-released 2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances report from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
Based on interviews from 70 professionals across the food processing and packaging industry in the US and overseas, the study forecasts that meat and related products and snack foods will outperform the market with over 3% growth. The growth in these two segments is attributed to consumer demand for portion control and convenience options.
The US food industry trails the global market, and while North America is the largest global market across all food segments, the overall growth of the food industry, which includes food packaging, is being driven by emerging markets such as Argentina, Brazil, China and India.
Global growth rates for most segments are double US growth rates, except for meat and related products (8.5%), and candy and confections (8%), which have higher rates of global growth compared to those of the United States.
US food packaging innovations are often concepts that are already in use in other segments, and innovations from other countries are beginning to enter the US market. The most innovative food industry segments are snack foods, meat and related products, fruits and vegetables, and pet foods.
The snack food segment sees the use of recycled and biodegradable materials for salty snacks and stylish, vivid graphics and shapes for single-serve packs. Meat and related products are using new films to keep meat fresher longer and active labels to sense when meat is past its expiration. In the pet food segment more recycled materials are used in packaging, and single-serve containers differentiate niche or premium products.
Consumer demand continues to drive the industry as noted in the current major packaging trends: convenience, flexibility, safety, sustainability and technology.