Sustainability key market driver in North American packaging market over next five years

Sustainability key market driver in North American packaging market over next five years

Demand for food and drink packaging in North America will continue to expand and add new functionalities across the next 5 years according to the latest exclusive market research from Smithers.

The Future of North American Food and Drink Packaging to 2022 tracks how this market consumed 514.55million tonnes in 2016, having seen sluggish (1.3%) annual growth since 2012. Smithers’ analysis shows that across 2017-2022, volume consumption will continue and reach 551.32 million tonnes per annum in 2022.

Increasingly, food and drink packaging is expected to be recyclable and light weight, i.e. manufactured with as little material as possible. Lack of recyclability is one of the key reasons US municipalities are increasingly moving to ban products such as expanded polystyrene/Styrofoam food packaging, with brand owners switching to more environmentally friendly materials, like paperboard. A parallel trend extending into the future will be greater use of materials sourced in a sustainable manner. Plastic packaging in particular will be affected by the greater availability of commercial packaging grade bioplastics and enthusiasm for brands to make use of them.

Packaged food and drink sales via North American retail channels grew by an annual consumption trends average of 2.3% between 2012 and 2016, reaching 549.57 billion packs. By 2022, consumption is forecast to reach 659. 34 billion   packs, representing yearly growth of 3.1% from present levels.    


"Likely market drivers include a greater focus upon food and drinks geared towards time-pressed consumers, as well as the continued spread of convenience and discount retailers throughout the region. Although the US remains the region’s largest market, recent growth has been higher in Mexico – this is mainly because the country’s grocery retail industry is less developed, and more people are now starting to shop at modern, Western-style outlets."

Jonathan Thomas, author of the report

Between 2016 and 2022, Mexican sales of packaged food and drink rose to 3.5%, out pacing both the US and Canada. Across 2017-2022, annual growth is expected to increase to 4.8% in Mexico, meaning its share of total regional consumption will grow to 22.6% – up from 20.5% at present. Much of this will occur at the expense of the US, whose share of the regional total asset to all from 73% in 2016 to 71.2% in 2022.

In the years leading up to, growth is likely to be most apparent within the foil trays sector, averaging at more than 6% per annum. Demand for paperboard lids and trays is also expected to grow steadily, largely due to environmental concerns as these products take share from plastic containers in both retail and food service sales. Future growth is expected to be very marginal in mature sectors, such as glass bottles and jars.

The report highlights trends and dynamics within the North American market for food and drink packaging. The market data is segmented by pack type, end use and country. The report analyses the   dynamics of each market, as well as reviewing the key trends driving consumer demand.

Notes for Editors            

The Future of North American Packaging to 2022  is available to purchase. For more information download the report brochure. 

For press enquiries or a more detailed article, please contact Julie Bostock:
Tel: +44 (0) 1372 802 035


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