Food packaging market is by far the largest application segment of the packaging industry, accounting for more than one-third of the global packaging market. From a global perspective, the food packaging market is at a very interesting situation, where the market has almost reached a plateau in terms of technology in the more developed nations in North America and Europe, while the emerging countries of Asia Pacific region are playing catch up to the packaging technologies and food supply chain management. Different types of food products require varied packaging types according to their individual usage and perishability.
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The sea change in food habits and preference for processed food has propelled the food packaging market in the past. The market for packaged food has already reached a holistic level in North America and Western Europe, while rapid lifestyle changes and economic growth, coupled with rising population in Asia Pacific countries such as China and India, has spiked the growth rate of food packaging in the region. The growth rate in South America and the Middle East is also on the higher side compared to the developed economies. The main reason for increasing preference for processed food is the shifting population dynamics towards urban centers from rural areas. This has resulted in the advent of dual income urban families, who prefer processed food due to time constraints. Packaged food has evolved from super markets to neighborhood stores in countries such as China, India, Brazil and Thailand among others. The market dynamics in North America and Europe however, is governed by branding activities undertaken by food processing companies.
Tremendous opportunity exist in the food packaging market in emerging economies as the food packaging technology is in its growth phase in this region. Antimicrobial packaging technique is of particular interest as it helps to improve the shelf life of perishable food products. The market is however, slightly restrained by the declining growth in North America and Europe.
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The food packaging market can be segmented into application segments such as convenience foods, confectionary items, dairy items, fruits and vegetables, meat and sauces and dressings. The popularity of the different food applications is different across the globe. For instance packaged meat is making foray into Asia Pacific region while it is mainstream in North America and Europe. Materials used to package food can also be segmented into plastic, paper & board, metal and glass. They may also be classified as rigid, semi-regid and flexible by type of packaging material. The preferences for different packaging materials also vary with regions due to the food habits specific to the regions. Flexible packaging accounts for the largest share of food packaging.
North America is the largest food packaging market followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. However the growth rate exhibited by these regions has subsided considerably as the market is close to its peak. The growth parity is however, restored by the high growth regions of Asia Pacific and South America. China and India have exhibited exceptional growth potential and is expected to overtake the market leading position from North America in the near future.
Some of the major players in the food packaging market are American Packaging Corporation, Anchor Packaging, Crown Holdings, Inc. and Bemis Company, Inc., among many others.
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