Recyclable Multilayer Films Show Growing Prominence in F&B Industry

Market players in the retort packaging landscape are pledging to increase the production of recyclable packaging. Multi-material films are one of the massive driving forces for innovation in high-barrier retort applications.

Currently, retort pouches account for ~53% of the retort packaging market share, with an estimate of ~4.3 million tons of production in the year 2027. Due to high incremental and volume opportunity in the retort pouches landscape, market players are innovating on packaging films that can be recycled and which can withstand ambient medium-barrier and ambient high-barrier retort applications.

Stakeholders are eliminating the use of metals and polyester (PET) to develop polyolefin-based materials. These sustainable films are layered with silicon oxide to meet the multi-functional needs of retort packaging. By working closely with target customers, market players are gaining important insights so as to make relevant changes in the production methods of these packaging films. Thus, when packaging films successfully cater to the specific needs of consumers, it will help trigger increased demand for packaging solutions, primarily in the food and beverage (F&B) industry.

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Plastic Packaging Increases Cost-efficiency and Convenience of Pouches

Market players in the retort packaging landscape are capitalizing on the efficiency and convenience of retort processing over canned packaging. From a consumer point of view, cans are heavy and bulky to handle, and have limited mobility, especially for children and elderly individuals. From a manufacturer point of view, cans require high-budget investments to get the resources in place for production, and add increased costs for shipping across countries.

Plastic retort packaging accounts for a market share as high as ~76%, and offers as a cost-efficient packaging solution. Market players are innovating to develop thin-film profiles and better thermal conductivity in plastic packaging. Also, the shorter heating time in plastic packaging saves energy resources for manufacturers, and helps retain the authentic flavor and aroma of pouched food, as compared to canned food. Positive consumer attitude towards pouched food being ‘more fresh’ and ‘tastes better’ than canned food is catalyzing the increased demand for plastic retort packaging for brands associated with soups, sauces, desserts, and the like. However, plastic packaging does not comply with the strict regulations in many countries. Hence, market players are innovating on sustainable packaging solutions with the development of recyclable pouches, paper and paperboard packaging solutions.

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Remedial Measures Overcome Limitations in Food and Dairy Product Packaging

The retort packaging landscape is highly fragmented, and is creating opportunities for emerging manufacturers to enter the market. Due to the high competition in this market, it is crucial for manufacturers to understand the needs of consumers as well as those of stakeholders in the food and dairy products landscape.

Though retort pouches are well known for their durability, many a times, they burst open when exposed to high-heat temperatures during the sterilization process. Manufacturers are overcoming this obstacle with the help of autoclaving sealed flasks in air ballast systems.

The packaging of dairy products also demands the need for specialized processes. Even a slight change in the heat exchange integrity of retort processes can change the quality of dairy products. Thus, manufacturers need to implement frequent inspection programs and provide remedial measures during retort processes of dairy products.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

Market players in the retort packaging landscape have high growth potential in the food industry, due to the need for multiple packaging applications. Retort packaging for the food industry is estimated to account for a production volume of ~6.5 million tons by the end of 2027. Strict environmental regulations have given rise to sustainable retort packaging solutions. For instance, in April 2019, Amcor – a leading global packaging company, announced the launch of recyclable and high barrier film packaging for stand-up and spouted pouches. Since convenience is the king for meat packaging, manufacturers must invest in developing novel flexible packaging solutions for meat products. Manufacturers in the retort packaging landscape must innovate on unique forms of stand-up pouches for cook-in-bag meals such as soups, rice, and pasta dishes.

  • According to Transparency Market Research’s latest market report on the retort packaging market for the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027, dimensional consistency and stability in the product design of retort packaging are estimated to drive the growth of the retort packaging market.
  • Globally, revenue generated by the retort packaging market is anticipated to be ~US$ 15.6 Bnin 2019, which is projected to expand at a CAGR of ~5% in terms of value during the forecast period. 

Increased Emphasis on Convenient and Eco-friendly Packaging Formats

  • The need for safe & hygienic, aesthetically appealing, comparatively lightweight, and extended shelf life packaging is emphasized in retort packaging. As a result, manufacturers are focusing on developing solutions that can help foods in retain their natural odor and color after long storage durations.
  • The negative impact of plastics on the environment has led companies and governments to restrict the usage of plastics and market eco-friendly packaging products, which will result in reduced waste production and fossil fuel consumption.

Retort Packaging Market Volume to Expand 1.6X during Forecast Period

  • The global retort packaging market is expected to register steady growth over the period of forecast, due to innovation in material for retort packaging formats such as pouches, trays, etc.

Retort Packaging Market – Key Research Findings

  • The global retort packaging market is primarily dominated by manufacturers based in Europe and APAC, in terms of market share. MEA and APAC are anticipated to experience a very healthy CAGR of ~6%during the period of 2019-2027. ASEAN, India, and China are dominating the APAC region.
  • Manufacturing companies of retort packaging formats are focusing on innovations to improve the material used in the packaging of food products, so as to prevent undesirable changes of flavor. The introduction of safe, fully-recyclable, and high-barrier flexible packaging for consumer convenience is in progress.
  • There are innovations in retort packaging solutions that reduce carbon footprint and overcome handling challenges. For instance, a company launched a unique recyclable packaging that can reduce carbon footprint up to ~64%.

High Demand for Ready-to-Eat Meals Due to Increased Workforce

  • The prevalence of convenience food among consumers in developing countries is driving the growth of the retort packaging market. Retort packaging is widely preferred because of its ability to increase the shelf life of products (18 months) as compared to conventional packaging methods. Changing eating habits and increasing number of workforce living alone are factors that lead to the increased consumption of ready-to-eat meals that require minimal effort and less preparation This factor has positively affected the demand for retort packaging formats such as pouches, trays, cans, and the like.

Improvisation in Technology for Sustainable and Cost-effective Packaging

  • JBT Corporation, one of the leading solution providers for the food and beverage processing industry, launched two innovative solutions to overcome challenges related to the retort sterilization process, specifically energy consumption, improving the handling process of sensitive packaging, and reducing water usage.
  • Bemis’ (subsidiary of Amcor plc.) ready meal packages was the first self-venting retort pouches for portable meals, which when opened, function as a bowl.

Global Retort Packaging Market – Competition Landscape

  • Elaborated company profiles of the top players in the retort packaging market are incorporated in the report to reveal their product offerings, financials, recent developments, and strategies. Some of the key players operating in the global retort packaging market are –
    • Amcor plc
    • Mondi Group
    • Huhtamäki Oyj
    • Sealed Air Corp.
    • Winpak Ltd.
    • Sonoco Products Company
    • Coveris Holdings S.A.
    • Proampac LLC
    • Tredegar Corporation
    • Avonflex
    • ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc.
    • DNP America, LLC.
    • Clifton Packaging Group Ltd
    • Printpack, Inc.
    • Paharpur 3P
    • Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH
    • Flair Flexible Packaging Corporation
    • HPM Global Inc.
    • LD PACK Co., Ltd.

Global Retort Packaging Market – Key Developments

Manufacturers in the global retort packaging market are mainly concentrating on product launches and acquisitions to expand their production facilities for retort packaging. At present, key participants in the retort packaging market are focusing on the production of safe, convenient, and innovative packaging. Concerns regarding the development of environment-friendly products to safeguard nature by cutting the amount and types of material used are the criteria of manufacturing companies.

  • On 18 April 2019, Proampac LLC launched child-resistant reclosable, easy-open (CRREO) pouches with an expanded range of sizes.
  • On 11 February 2019, Sealed Air Corp. expanded its food packaging operations in Asia through the acquisition of MGM’S flexible packaging business.
  • On 13 November 2018, Flair Flexible Packaging Corporation introduced a line of recyclable multi-layer laminated film pouches called ENVi™.
  • On 13 June 2017, Sonoco Products Company expanded its clear barrier flexible packaging line for including liquid pouch structures, which are suitable for hot fill and retort applications.

 

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