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World: Retort packaging demand to soar, pushed by Covid-19 pandemic, urbanization, says report

The retort pouch packaging market is expected to grow at a compound average growth rate of 5.61% during the forecast period from 2020 to 2025.

Moreover, the increasing demand for packed food is influencing the growth of this market.

Additionally, a higher number of consumers have shown a preference for on-the-go packaging solutions, which have led to the growth of retort packaging through offerings in pouches and trays.

According to the Flexible Packaging Association, retort pouches and bags contributes 60% of the total food packaging all over the world.

Packaged food such as sauces, dairy products, bakery, and soup items are often packed in retort packaging to ensure longer shelf life.

However, the ready-to-eat is also creating enormous opportunities for the retort market.

From the Organic Trade Association data, the retail sales of organic food in the US is US$50 billion.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has also impacted the demand for retort pouch packaging across the world.

According to trade media, the consumption of food away from home will decrease by 20% due to the COVID-19 situation.

Hence the increasing demand for food from home will support the growth of this market.

The ongoing characteristics such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste are influencing the demand for retort pouch packaging in meat, poultry, and seafood products.

Data from the Statistics Bureau of Japan shows the retort packaging market is expected to reach US$1.76 billion by 2023.

Specific innovations in the packaging type are further driving the market.

For instance, TCL Packaging, in close collaboration with B&G Products, developed a stand-up, oven-friendly pouch.

TCL Packaging will offer a specialist application for pre-made pouches that are suitable for microwave and conventional oven cooking up to 220°C.

Food industry will hold substantial market share

The food industry is one of the primary end-user for this market.

For food products, retort pouch packaging is primarily used for ready to eat meals, meat (beef, pork, chicken), seafood (tuna, shrimp, salmon, mackerel, mussels, salmon, etc.) sauces, pasta dishes, rice, baby food, fruits and vegetables, organic and frozen food.

This form of packaging for food helps in enhancing flexibility and preserving it from contaminants, which are likely to boost the growth of this market.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the volume of cold storage of frozen red meat amounted to 1101.5 million pounds in FY2019.

In comparison, foods like frozen potatoes and frozen poultry amounted to 1155.93 million pounds and 1,212.92 million pounds, respectively.

Retort pouches are considered to be one of the most convenient packaging solutions for dairy and yogurt for out -of -home consumption.

Companies and dairies are, hence, developing and using packaged pouches with creative lidding to gain consumers’ attraction.

For instance, Amcor launched AmLite Ultra Recyclable retorted pouch, which is more sustainable.

Its high barrier laminate can package a range of food and pharmaceutical products that can be recycled easily.

Moreover, the increasing consumption of baked food is also influencing the growth of this market.

USDA states the consumption of baked goods in India reached 3.07 million mt in FY2019.

Additionally, the demand for online packed food is also driving the growth of this market.

It also enables the availability of such foods off the shelf.

These pouches also can be vacuum packed, which can be used for products, like smoked seafood.

With the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, retail demand for food soared.

According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, sales of frozen and packaged foods in particular increased dramatically: at their peak in the second half of March, weekly sales of frozen foods were 63% higher than the year before in France, while sales of packaged foods were 56% higher year-on-year in Germany.

Asia Pacific is one of the fastest-growing region for this market

Asia-Pacific region is expected to be one of the prominent markets for retort pouches owing to the increasing demand for greater convenience in food, beverage, packaging solutions.

Moreover, China’s rapid economic development and an increase in the standard of living have created a significant demand for Retort Pouch packaging.

According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the food industry in 2019 generated operating revenue of about CNY 8.12 trillion (US$1.24 trillion).

With increasing urbanization, changes in lifestyles, and growing annual disposable income, demand for processed food is expected to grow, which would lead to higher demand for retort pouch packaging.

Similarly, India has witnessed sustainable packaging growth owing to the increase of packaged food consumption and awareness, and demand for quality products.

According to data of the Packaging Industry Association of India (PIAI), the sector is growing at 22 -25% per annum.

Additionally, the Indian food processing industry accounted for 32% of the country’s total food market, one of the largest industries in India, ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export, and expected growth.

Furthermore, the outbreak COVID-19 lockdown has affected the working in the jute mills, thereby disrupting the production of jute bags.

Hence it is supporting the growth of retort pouches within this country.

In South Korea, the FMCG sector is expected to further bolster the demand for flexible solutions, such as retort pouches by ensuring wide adoption in the food and beverage sector.

The demand for lighter forms of packaging and greater ease of use are expected to drive the growth of retort pouches, which, in turn, may become the asset for the overall packaging market in the country.

Competitive landscape

The retort pouch packaging market is highly competitive due to the presence of multiple vendors in the market.

The market concentration of this market is medium, with the presence of some significant players adopting strategies such as product innovation, mergers, and acquisitions to gain some competitive advantage in this market.

In August 2020, ProAmpac a flexible packaging provider, and Bimbosan jointly produced its ProActive renewable pouch for the baby food market.

This new pouch utilizes 65% bio-based resin in the sealant layer, which can reduce the carbon footprint across the environment.

In July 2020, Coveris Holdings opened its new Pack Innovation Centre in Halle, Germany.

Supporting the customers to ‘innovate’, ‘educate’ and ‘validate’ the flexible packaging of the future, the centre is positioned as a European hub for technical product development, sustainable innovation and education.

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