Berries and apples remain best opportunities for fresh fruit packaging suppliers - report

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Berries and apples remain best opportunities for fresh fruit packaging suppliers - report

Apples and berries will remain the best opportunities for fresh fruit packaging suppliers through 2024, according to a new report by the Freedonia Group.

The company said that together the two categories would account for 51% of demand.

"Growth in apple packaging demand will be above average, supported by a projected increase in domestic apple production and rising demand for apple slices packaged individually for convenience and snacking," it said. 

"Berries are relatively intensive users of higher cost rigid packaging containers due to their greater need for protection compared to other fruits, and packaging demand will also benefit from rebounds in domestic production and increasing availability of smaller sizes.

"Nevertheless, strong increases in ready-to-eat fruit demand will also yield growth opportunities for packaging suppliers in other applications, as well, particularly melons, grapes, pineapple, mangoes, peaches, and pears."

New analysis forecasts demand for fresh fruit packaging to increase 4.0% per year to $2.4 billion in 2024, it said. 

Sales gains will be supported by, rising demand for fresh fruit sold in some form of packaging, including pouches, bags, and rigid plastic containers.

They will also be driven by more intensive use of higher value packaging that offers convenience and ease-of-use features, superior performance and shelf life, and/or improved environmental footprint.

In addition, increasing sales of ready-to-eat (RTE) pre-cut fruit such as apple slices, melon spears, and citrus segments that are typically sold in tubs, cups, or other rigid plastic containers, will also contribute to sales growth.

"Continued elevated retail grocery spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will bolster gains, at least in the near term," the company said.

"Nonetheless, increases will be limited by relatively slow growth in overall domestic fresh fruit output, with declines projected for a few key fruit types, including citrus."

The Fresh Fruit Packaging report analyzes the US market for fresh fruit packaging. Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for produce packaging demand in current US dollars (including inflation) by product and application.

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