Study: US Demand for Produce to Increase to $4.8 Billion in 2014

CLEVELAND, OH | The Freedonia Group, an industry market research firm, predicts growth will be fueled by a rebound in fresh produce production and improved consumer spending in a recovering US economy. Other trends stimulating gains include increased nutritional awareness and efforts to curb obesity, which will promote healthier eating and interest in foods such as produce. Packaging demand will be further aided by retailer preferences for display-ready packaging to hold down labor costs and a favorable outlook for fresh-cut, ready-to-eat produce, which offers convenience and tends to use more value-added packaging than bulk produce.  Preventing faster growth will be price sensitivity among consumers and competition from processed fruits and vegetables, which tend to be less costly than fresh produce and have a longer shelf life. These and other trends are presented in Produce Packaging, a new study.

Corrugated boxes, which accounted for 38% of produce packaging demand in 2009, will remain the leading packaging type through 2014 and beyond. Box demand is projected to increase a below-average 2.5%/yr based on more moderate box price increases than in the 2004-2009 period, the maturity of most applications and competition from reusable plastic containers (RPCs). Plastic containers will experience the fastest gains among major produce packaging types, with demand expected to increase 6.1%/yr to $1.1 billion in 2014. Advances will be propelled by solid growth in berry production and expanding applications for clamshells and other plastic containers with whole and fresh-cut produce.  Concerns regarding food safety and security will boost demand for plastic containers with tamper-resistance features.

Fruit applications are expected to outpace the overall average, aided by trends toward healthier eating and the increased availability of ready-to-eat fruit, especially in quick service restaurants and schools.  Advances for salad will decelerate from the pace of the 1999-2009 period due to the growing maturity of the segment. Still, gains will be supported by the increased presence of ready-to-eat single-portion salads in supermarkets and other retail establishments. Vegetable applications, which comprised 50% of total produce packaging demand in 2009, will expand more slowly based on sluggishness in potato production.  

Produce Packaging is available for $4,800 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Dr., Cleveland, OH  44143-2326.  For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff at 440-684-9600, e-mail pr@freedoniagroup.com; website: www.freedoniagroup.com.


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