Published: April 2018
The ambient long-life food sector development is challenged with its ‘dated’ market positioning and consumer concerns about quality in comparison with the chilled variants. Canned foods are perceived as inferior quality, less fresh and less authentic products. Their efficient supply chain, and consequently - lower price point, has enabled their vast market magnitude to date. The segment needs modernisation and innovation.
Growing consumer demand for convenience foods as well as suppliers’ search for market differentiation are main drivers for packaging innovation in the ambient segment. Plastic high barrier packaging offers superior functionality and aesthetics versus traditional packaging media (metal, glass). The key points of differentiation for plastic variants include: portability, microwaveability, re-sealability, ease of opening, portioned servings, in-pack serving, light-weight and shatter-proofing.
With improved process technology and new technical solutions, high barrier rigid plastics can now deliver higher quality long-life food products. High barrier plastics have the potential to re-vitalise mature markets such as soup, canned fruit, vegetables and fish, by introducing convenient, added value containers suited to modern day living.
With steel prices climbing, major users of cans are committed to finding value-for-money, light-weight and convenient alternatives to traditional packaging media. On the other hand, filling speed vs. cans, cost and disposal of high barrier rigid packaging are aspects that have so far prevented mainstream adoption of the new formats.
The demand for high barrier plastics is not only driven by metal/glass replacement initiatives. The development of new applications, such as single-serve capsules, have significantly contributed to the increase of plastics market penetration.
Having established a leading position in thin wall packaging market research, AMI has focussed its efforts to analyse the global supply chain of high barrier rigid thin wall packaging. The study is a detailed review of demand and supply trends within the high barrier rigid plastics segment. AMI Consulting is uniquely positioned to interrogate existing industry data, and source detailed volumetrics on packaging production and supply due to its competence within the global plastics industry.
The study gathered production details on a site-by-site basis and from these building blocks an analysis of existing and future demand were derived. The interview programme questioned producers and users on demand drivers within their specific application areas.