Canadian Packaging

Meat packaging set for steady market growth in the U.S.

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

Automation meat packaging The Freedonia Group

Growing domestic appetite for more convenience foods and longer product shelf-life, along with more widespread use of case-ready packaging by major retailers, will keep the U.S. demand for meat, poultry and seafood packaging growing by an average of three per cent annually over the next four years to reach US$9.2 billion by 2015, according to a new study from the Cleveland, Ohio-based market researchers The Freedonia Group, Inc.

“Meat applications will continue to account for the largest share of packaging demand as a result of red meat’s status as a favored main dish in the foodservice sector and the growing presence of case-ready meats in retail sites,” the Meat, Poultry & Seafood Packaging report states.

“However, demand growth in meat applications will lag the pace of poultry and seafood due to concerns over the fat and cholesterol levels of red meat,” the study predicts.


“Although seafood applications will account for the smallest portion of packaging demand, gains will outpace those for meat and poultry as a result of seafood’s perceived health benefits,” the report states, noting the growing widespread use of flexible packaging formats in the animal protein markets.

“Flexible packaging demand growth will continue to outpace that of rigid packaging, and these gains will be bolstered by good opportunities for high-barrier film and pouches,” The Freedonia Group report states. “Demand for high-barrier film will also benefit from a favorable outlook for case-ready packaging, which requires value-added materials to prolong product shelf-life and to protect contents during shipping and handling.

“Pouch demand will be driven by further inroads by retort pouches into traditional can applications and healthy gains for stand-up pouches in frozen meat, poultry and seafood applications.”

According to the study, metal cans and corrugated boxes will register the slowest growth for the forecast period (see table), while plastic containers and trays are expected to post the biggest market share gains.

“Gains for rigid packaging will lag those for flexible packaging, reflecting maturity in the large corrugated box segment and minimal advances for metal cans, but demand for plastic containers will be driven by heightened demand for prepared meat and poultry items in supermarkets and other retail locations as a result of consumer preference for convenience foods that require little or no preparation,” the report states.

“Packaging demand will also be stimulated by the ongoing shift to case-ready packaging by many retailers as a means of reducing in-store labor costs,” the study adds.

“Tray demand will be aided by the growing use of case-ready packaging, which often employs larger foam or more costly rigid barrier trays,” says the report, “while increasing use of more expensive biodegradable trays will also stimulate value gains.

“Demand for packaging accessories will benefit from regulations requiring nutrition information and country-of-origin labels on a variety of meat and poultry,” items, the study notes, while also citing “rising export opportunities to countries such as Japan and Chile.”

Full copies of the 302-page Meat, Poultry & Seafood Packaging report may be obtained for US $4,900 by contacting Corinne Gangloff of The Freedonia Group, Inc. at (440) 684-9600, or via email


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