Guest article

Breaking down the US packaging market for bakery and snacks

The US currently represents the largest national market for packaging machinery at about 17% of the current global value, which is roughly $38.5bn. Pic: ©iStock/krblokhim

Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI, sheds light on the trends and challenges affecting the US processing and packaging industries.

Following a lively 2016 election and the early activities of the Trump administration, many questions surround the short-term future of the US economy.

While outlooks have been mixed, the International Monetary Fund recently predicted the US economy to expand by 3.4% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018. This growth will further support an expanding US packaging market.

PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, recently released a report that projected the estimated value of the world packaging machinery market would increase at 2.6 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $43.7bn by 2019.

The US currently represents the largest national market for packaging machinery at about 17% of the current global value, which is roughly $38.5bn.

What are some of the strongest market segments that will help drive growth in US packaging machinery investments?

Growth of the packaging sectors

In the US, the pharmaceuticals sector is forecast to grow the fastest of all sectors to 2020, followed closely by the beverage sector. This activity is helping to drive the market for food packaging, with projections to grow at a CAGR of 2.9% through 2022, reaching a value of $31.7bn, according to PMMI’s 2016 Food Packaging Trends and Advances Study.

Another notable area for growth is organic food. PMMI’s 2016 infographic, “What’s Next: Food and Beverage Trends Impact Industry Growth” reported that organic food sales hit a new benchmark of $43.3bn in 2015, up 11% from the previous year’s record.

This points to an increasingly health-conscious consumer population, with greater demand for products billed as clean label or natural rather than diet products using artificial sweeteners.

This factor, combined with the approaching deadlines for provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandating actionable plans for the prevention of food contamination occurrences, is placing a wide range of demands on the operations of manufacturers as they look to enhance production flexibility as a solution.

Compelling solutions

The integration of serialization technologies is not new, but it is gaining importance as global supply chains become more complex and susceptible to counterfeiters.

To combat counterfeiting, there is an increasing interest and adoption of encrypted symbologies for track and trace applications, smart labels/tags and the use of RFID is growing for internal tracking and cold chain monitoring. Many of the anti-counterfeiting measures applied to the pharmaceutical industry are also gaining momentum in the food sector.

The integration of technologies to support the Internet of Things (IoT) and remote monitoring capabilities is also gaining traction as end users have begun to see these solutions as multi-taskers that enhance efficiency and flexibility while also supporting more rigorous food safety measures.

To further support flexibility and reduce changeover times between multiple, shorter product runs, modular components and Clean In Place (CIP) attributes are increasingly in demand. Additionally, energy-savings has evolved from a sustainability gain to a cost-savings enabler, expected by end users.

PMMI trade shows

  • The inaugural ProFood Tech (April 4-6, 2017; Chicago) is the only event in North America focused exclusively on all food and beverage sectors.
  • PACK EXPO Las Vegas (September 25-27, 2017; Las Vegas) is one of North America’s largest packaging events, showcasing solutions necessary to launch a new product from 2,000 exhibitors. 

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