Food packaging: Innovation required: Ready meals and cans adapt to changing needs and lifestyles.

Author:Kenny, Jack
Position:FRONT Row
 
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Food packaging can only expand. The industry is lucrative but challenging: It is thriving and it will continue to thrive, but the ability to adapt to swiftly changing consumer needs and technological gains requires vigilance.

The North American food and drink market is mature, but the expanding demand tor packaging does not abate. Between 2012 and 2016, consumption rose by 9.8% to 700.92 billion packages, according to research by Smithers Pira. By 2022, the study projects, consumption across the region is forecast to increase by a further 19.6% to 838.12 billion units. In Europe, rising demand tor innovation and shifting consumer requirements will push the food and beverage packaging market forward at a rate ot 3.1% per year, reaching 1.32 trillion packages in 2023.

As we reported in the most recent issue of this magazine, food waste is growing and will not be ignored. Consumers are aware that the cost of waste is built into the price of the stuff they buy, and they insist on product freshness and safety.This demand is not lost on those competing for success in the food packaging segment.The popularity ot ready meals is one area where such demand can be met.

Ready meals have been a fast growing part ot consumers' lives and are expected to increase in share.The evolving lifestyles and the needs and desires of intelligent consumers place significant demands on food marketers today.

The global ready meals market, valued at $194.06 billion in 2016, is expected to grow more than 13.6% from 2018 through 2023, according to Mordor Intelligence. "Though health concerns restrain the market, the perception of consumers towards ready meals has been improving constantly. The introduction of healthy ready meals and low carbon, biodegradable barrier tray packaging--which maintain the quality and increase the shelf life of products--are supporting the market.The need tor constant innovation is a challenge tor the manufacturers."

The market has been segmented into frozen ready meals, chilled, canned, and dried ready meals. Frozen ready meals dominate the global market with a share of more than 52%. Europe dominates with a predicted market value of more than $45 billion, due mainly to the introduction of healthy ready meals. In the Asia-Pacific region, the ready meals market is expected to grow rapidly with India and China becoming the major markets in the region.

An analysis by GrandView Research says that advances in the packaging industry enable producers...

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