Rigid Food Packaging

Published - May 2008| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - FOD039B
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. market for plastic rigid food packaging should increase from about 13 billion pounds in 2007 to an estimated 13.7 billion pounds by the end of 2008. It should reach slightly over 17 billion pounds by 2013, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%.
  • Bottles have the largest share of the rigid food packaging market and are expected to increase from an estimated 7.5 billion pounds in 2008 to nearly 9.5 billion pounds in 2013, a CAGR of 4.8%.
  • Significant increase in the use of polypropylene will see the segment increase from an estimated 1.1 billion pounds in 2008 to 1.5 billion pounds in 2013, for a CAGR of 6.6%.


There have been very few reports that specifically cover the overall rigid plastic food packaging market. Previous studies in the field covered segments of this market such as bottles or food containers, but did not combine all the elements into a cohesive report. There have also been a great many reports on the flexible portion of the food packaging market, which is mainly comprised of film-based structures.
An overall study on rigid plastic food packaging markets takes into account a wide array of structures that can be blow or injection molded, extruded, or thermoformed. It is also important to consider the non-plastic competitive scene made up of glass, metal, and paperboard, as well as to assess relatively new technologies such as barrier bottles to maintain proper balances of oxygen and carbon dioxide. A reassessment of the recycling scenario, especially with plastic food bottles, is also needed to fully understand the market.
This report covers usage of the key resins used in rigid food packaging, segmented by the major applications which include bottles; dairy, meat and deli containers; molded and thermoformed containers made up mostly of liquid foods; prepared foods (e.g., frozen, microwave, dual-ovenables); and food service packaging.
Coverage is specific in terms of analyzing pre-packaged foods in rigid packaging and excludes non-prepackaged rigid packaging in addition to food service uses such as trays for holding meals, utensils, and cups.
The market data represents consumption of plastics in rigid food packaging in North America. Clearly, there has been a trend to source plastics offshore, especially from Asia and more specifically from China, although significant volumes of finished products are made in North America. 
This trend of offshore sourcing has been most prominent with plastic films, although more recently, commodity plastic pellets, powders, and other products have been imported in greater amounts. Imports of molded and/or thermoformed products have been less prominent, but larger amounts of imports of these materials are anticipated.
At this point in time it is not feasible to quantitatively assess the impact of offshore products in plastic rigid food packaging, and it is important to keep in mind that consumption in North America is the basis for the market tables in this report.
In addition to evaluations of the many technologies involved, this report quantitatively assesses individual plastics usage in the key markets; provides rationales for the trends within each market sector; describes the roles of the many companies involved such as molders, thermoformers, and converters; and discusses the structure of the industry, the impact of recycling, and other critical issues.
A comprehensive review and analysis was undertaken of literature related to the industry that included trade industry articles and company literature. These data were elaborated upon through interviews with key participants in the industry for their assessment of the present and future scenario of the rigid plastic food packaging market.
Research analyst Mel Schlechter has over 40 years in the chemical industry, and specializes in plastics market research. He has been with BCC Research for over 10 years and holds a B.S. in chemistry, M.S. in organic chemistry and a M.B.A. in marketing.

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Published - Nov-2004| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - FOD039A

Report Highlights

  • The plastic rigid food packaging market in North America reached about 10.3 billion pounds in 2003 and is expected to increase to more than 13.6 billion pounds by 2008 at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 5.8%.
  • PET is the dominant resin at 5.8 billion pounds and its use is rising faster than the total market, at an AAGR of 6.4%.
  • HDPE, polystyrene and polypropylene come next, with the latter rising at an AAGR of 7.3%.
  • Polycarbonate, while representing a small piece of the pie, will rise the fastest at an AAGR of 7.4%, reaching 100 million pounds in 2008.
  • New technologies are an important growth factor especially in the areas of barrier bottles and dual-ovenable packaging.


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