According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global bakery packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 4% during the forecast period.

The report categorizes the global bakery packaging market into three major segments based on type of materials used for packaging. They are:

  • Flexible packaging
  • Rigid plastic packaging
  • Metal packaging

The global bakery packaging market by flexible plastic is growing owing to favorable properties such as it being lightweight, which reduces transportation costs and consequently the carbon footprint. It has certain additional advantages associated with it such as, reduction in landfill waste, and reduction of energy required in the manufacturing process in comparison to rigid materials. Flexible plastic packaging includes films and sheets, pouches, and bags.

This market is characterized by innovative offerings such as biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BoPET), which is made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and has high tensile strength, chemical stability, transparency, and reflectivity. They are becoming highly popular in bakery packaging applications. Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and polyamide (PA) are used as oxygen barriers in dairy packaging and are known for their flexible, moldable, recyclable, and thermoform properties. Flexible packaging also offers down-gauging options.

Thus, this segment is slated for healthy growth during the forecast period. “Another major reason for the growth of this market is the increasing demand for single-serving and smaller size packets because they help to manage portion control, thereby satisfying cravings without adversely affecting the health of consumers. This has significantly increased the demand for flexible packaging solutions,” says Sharan Raj, a lead analyst at Technavio for packaging research.

The global bakery packaging market by rigid plastic is facing intense competition from rival packaging materials as they are cheaper and thus more economical to manufacture. However, despite this, it is a growing market and is impacted by certain technology trends such as hot-filling products in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packs, aseptic cold-filling in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packs, which increase the shelf-life of a product without it being kept in desired conditions. Also, recyclability of rigid packaging makes it a preferred choice of packaging.

The demand for bakery packaging by rigid plastic is further fueled by the expansion of centralized retail distribution and advancements in polymer materials. Products such as thin wall packaging and plastic box packaging help in increasing brand appeal and modernity. In addition, vendors are introducing new packaging designs, making use of rigid plastic. For instance, in July 2015, Berry Plastic launched a new grade of polypropylene (PP) polymer molded into a tapered pint box for gelato packaging, which provides attractive shelf appeal and entices consumers to buy the product.

The bakery packaging market by metal includes products such as containers, tins, and boxes. The demand for metal packaging is largely declining because of the increasing demand for cheaper substitutes. Approximately 50%-60% of bakery packaging products globally are made of aluminum. In the US, aluminum is used for packaging, but in some parts of Africa, Europe, and APAC steel is still used. The largest markets for metal packaging are the US, Japan, China, and Brazil.

The US is the major consumer of metal packaging followed by Europe and South America, especially Brazil. Southeast Asia and the Middle East regions are growing at a rapid rate and are witnessing a huge demand for these packs for packaging of cookies, pastries, and bread.

However, vendors in the market have to comply with many government regulations that mandate the hygienic and safe packaging of products. Packaging procedures are examined and supervised at every stage, and packaged products are subjected to random testing for safety and quality. To avert post-pasteurization contamination, manufacturers rely on refrigerated storage and safe processing and handling procedures. “These regulations render this segment a safer yet more expensive option for manufacturers as well as consumers,” says Sharan.