The global fresh food packaging market size was estimated at USD 123.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% from 2021 to 2028. Increasing demand for organic fresh food products like fruits, vegetables, and dairy from diet and health-conscious consumers is expected to have a positive impact on the market over the forecast period. Furthermore, ever-increasing foodservice operators and retail chains in North American and European economies are projected to switch from plastic packaging to a sustainable solution to attract an environment-conscious consumer base in the region. Thus, the aforementioned factors are expected to drive the demand for eco-friendly fresh food packaging.
The U.S. is one of the largest markets for packaging products around the globe with a total market exceeding USD 177 billion as of 2019, according to the Flexible Packaging Association. It is one of the largest producers and exporters for the application industries including dairy products, eggs, meat, and fruits and vegetables which has created a huge demand for fresh food packaging products in the country.
According to the data published by Produce Marketing Association in October 2020, fresh produce sales increased by USD 4.5 billion in the U.S. between January and August 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. According to a survey conducted in July 2020, a majority of contemporary consumers preferred the purchase of fresh food and are willing to pay a premium price for the same.
Plastic resins such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and others like paper pulp, metals, and glass are mainly used to package produce products. These plastic resins are derived from crude oil. In addition, materials like steel, aluminum, and glass are energy-intensive materials. Therefore, continuous fluctuation in crude oil prices leads to uncertainty around the availability of raw materials at lower or economical prices creating challenges for fresh food packaging.
Furthermore, to curb the humongous amount of plastic waste generated annually, many regulatory bodies and governments around the world have imposed restrictions on the generation of primarily plastic waste over the years. The regulatory bodies are emphasizing the circular economy under which higher importance would be given to the reusability of packaging products and strengthening of recycling activities which is expected to create challenges for the plastic material and opportunities for paper and paper board, bagasse, and polylactic acid.
The rigid fresh food packaging segment emerged as the largest type segment in the year 2020 and accounted for the largest revenue share of 52.4%. Rigid solutions provide stronger support to the goods that are packed with firm bases and barrier walls. Products packed in a rigid type of packaging are easy to ship from one place to another without damaging the content owing to the sturdy structure of the packaging.
These packs are easy to store due to their higher degree of stack ability in warehouses, during transit, and displayed on shelves in retail stores. It can protect the food from damage or external impact during handling and transportation leading to higher demand from the eggs, fruits, and vegetable manufacturers.
The flexible fresh food packaging segment is expected to witness a CAGR of 5.6% over the forecast period. Flexible packages including films such as shrink film, stretch film, and pouches offer greater convenience in handling as they are lightweight and easy to carry. Pouches and bags are compact and thereby occupy less space in warehouses and retail stores leading to high growth of the market for fresh food packaging.
The plastic material segment dominated the market for fresh food packaging and accounted for the largest revenue share of 37.2% in 2020 owing to its low cost, durability, and abundant availability. Packaging with plastic provides an efficient moisture barrier to the contents. Similarly, clear, and transparent containers or films are in demand as they enable end-users to easily identify the content as well as to check the product quality leading to high market share.
The paper and paper board segment emerged as the second-largest material and is a sustainable alternative for plastics. Recyclable paper fiber-based rigid packaging solutions such as trays and boxes are in demand from customers owing to the reducing use of plastic in packaging. For instance, AR Packaging, a Sweden-based company, launched a one-piece barrier carton board tray in March 2021 that can be used for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as herbs, mushrooms, and seeds.
Bagasse is another sustainable raw material, produced during the process of manufacturing sugar from sugarcane. It is the potential fiber source formed by high heat and high-pressure processes, consuming relatively lower energy as compared to paper pulping. Therefore, companies are taking efforts to develop and supply plant-based options to customers.
The others segment includes materials such as metals and glass and accounted for 20.0% of revenue share. Being a chemically inert material, glass is suitable for storing fresh food products. However, its heavyweight and fragile nature pose a challenge while using glass packaging during handling and shipping. Players such as Tata Steel and Hoffmann Neopac AG offer metal tin cans for packaging meat, fish, and poultry. These are recyclable packaging products and therefore offer a sustainable alternative.
The dairy products segment dominated the fresh food packaging market and accounted for the largest revenue share of 39.3% in 2020. As per the report, ‘OECDâ€‘FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018–2027on Dairy and Dairy Products’, fresh dairy products held the largest share of milk and dairy product consumption accounting for 50.0% of total milk production across the globe.
Storage and transportation of fresh produce incur a higher cost as safe handling is required during the process to protect the products from external impact. Therefore, players are developing new products to cater to specific consumer demands. For instance, in March 2021, Amcor launched a 1-liter container bottle for fresh milk. This is made from 20% transparent Post-consumer Recycled (PCR) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) that increases the sustainability of the product.
The fruits and vegetable application segment is expected to witness a CAGR of 4.9% in terms of revenue over the forecast period. Major contents in a vegetarian diet are fruits and vegetables. The shift in the consumer preference toward a vegan diet and plant-based nutrients is likely to expand the market size of the fruits and vegetable segment.
The Eggs, meat, and seafood segment emerged as the second-largest application segment in the market for fresh food packaging in the year 2020 driven by growing meat, fish, and eggs consumption in the developing and developed economies around the globe. Players operating in the market are developing innovative solutions such as efficient oxygen barriers, bio-based raw materials, and other printing capabilities for better marketing options.
Asia Pacific dominated the market for fresh food packaging and accounted for the largest revenue share of 40.9% in 2020. The region is expected to dominate the market over the forecast period. The region hosts several fast-growing economies including India, China, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. A large consumer base in countries like India and China is responsible for the high demand for fresh food products, which, in turn, is augmenting the demand for fresh food packaging over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific was the largest producer of plastics in the global market and accounted for over 50.0% revenue share in 2020. Large production of glass and metals like aluminum and steel has led to abundant raw material availability and is responsible for the significant share of other categories in the material segment. However, the plastic material segment is expected to witness several challenges owing to growing consumer awareness and stringent government regulations regarding plastics pollution.
North America emerged as the third-largest market for fresh food packaging in 2020 owing to the presence of developed application industries in the U.S. and Canada. Increasing focus on reducing the use of plastics in the food and beverages industry is expected to augment the demand for sustainable solutions in the region. Stringent regulations about environmental safety and the rising need for easily disposable solutions are expected to drive the demand for recyclable and biodegradable materials in packaging applications.
Increasing trade activities, led by Europe’s single-market policy that allows free trade within the region, are expected to be one of the primary factors for the growth of the market for fresh food packaging in Europe. Cartons and folding boxes are used in the transportation of various fruits, vegetables, and eggs. Thus, the demand for paper packaging products in food exports is expected to increase over the forecast period.
The market for fresh food packaging is highly competitive with the presence of many global and local players. The market is fragmented in nature with key players dominating it. New players are constantly involved in developing innovative products and increasing their penetration in the local market to compete with existing players. Major market players are constantly acquiring smaller market participants to increase their share in the global market for fresh food packaging. For instance, in February 2019, Sealed Air announced the acquisition of MGM’s flexible packaging business to increase its market presence and expand product portfolio. Some of the prominent players in the fresh food packaging market include:
DS Smith Plc
FLAIR Flexible Packaging Corporation
PPC Flexible Packaging LLC
FFP Packaging Ltd.
Sonoco Products Company
Clifton Packaging Group Limited
Pro-Pac Packaging Limited
Market size value in 2021
USD 129.0 billion
Revenue forecast in 2028
USD 181.7 billion
CAGR of 5.0% from 2021 to 2028
Base year for estimation
2017 - 2019
2021 - 2028
Revenue in USD billion and CAGR from 2021 to 2028
Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends
Packaging type, material, application, region
North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Latin America; Middle East & Africa
U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; U.K.; France; Italy; Spain; Denmark; Norway; Sweden; Russia; Poland; Netherlands; Portugal; China; India; Japan; Brazil; South Africa
Key companies profiled
Amcor plc; DS Smith Plc; Mondi; Coveris; FLAIR Flexible Packaging Corporation; PPC Flexible Packaging LLC; Flex-Pack; Transcontinental Inc; FFP Packaging Ltd; Sealed Air; GRUPO LANTERO; INFIA srl; Sonoco Products Company; Huhtamaki, CLONDALKIN GROUP, Clifton Packaging Group Limited; ProAmpac; Genpak, LLC; Pro-Pac Packaging Limited; WINPAK LTD.
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This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global fresh food packaging market report on the basis of packaging type, material, application, and region:
Packaging Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)
Trays & Boxes
Pouches & Bags
Wraps & Films.
Material Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)
Paper & Paper Board
Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)
Eggs, Meat and Seafood
Fruits and Vegetables
Region Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2017 - 2028)
Middle East & Africa
b. The rigid fresh food packaging segment emerged as the largest type segment in the year 2020 and accounted for the largest revenue share of 52.4% in the market.
b. The key player in the fresh food packaging market includes Amcor plc; DS Smith Plc; Mondi; Coveris; FLAIR Flexible Packaging Corporation; PPC Flexible Packaging LLC; Flex-Pack; Transcontinental Inc; FFP Packaging Ltd; Sealed Air.
b. Increasing demand for organic fresh food products like fruits, vegetables, and dairy from diet and health-conscious consumers is expected to have a positive impact on the fresh food packaging market over the forecast period.
b. The fresh food packaging market was estimated at USD 123.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 129.0 billion in 2021.
b. The fresh food packaging market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.0% from 2021 to 2028 to reach USD 181.7 billion by 2028.
b. The plastic material segment dominated the market for fresh food packaging and accounted for the largest revenue share of 37.2% in 2020.
b. The dairy products segment dominated the fresh food packaging market and accounted for the largest revenue share of 39.3% in 2020.
b. Asia Pacific dominated the market for fresh food packaging and accounted for the largest revenue share of 40.9% in 2020.
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The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sudden pause to manufacturing activities across the globe, affecting the demand for plastics and also production & processing of them. The most critically impacted end-use segments of the plastics industry include automotive & transportation, consumer goods, industrial equipment, construction, and electronics. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.
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