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Soft Drinks and Confectionery Lead Food and Beverage Packaging Volume

Soft drinks are by far the most popular package type in the food and beverage category, but some smaller categories may see volume gains in the near future.

Soft drinks account for about 74% of all beverage packaging volume.
Soft drinks account for about 74% of all beverage packaging volume.
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Soft drinks are the dominating subcategory for food and beverage packaging, but other subcategories, like confectionery packaging, are showing promise for upcoming volume gains.

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2022 report, “Future of Packaging and Sustainability.” Beverages took up over 47% of the overall packaging market, with around 237 billion units in 2021. Soft drinks accounted for almost 74% of that, with a projected combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5% by 2025.

Beverages accounted for about 12.4 billion more units of packaging than food in 2021.Beverages accounted for about 12.4 billion more units of packaging than food in 2021.PMMI Business Intelligence, 2022 Future of Packaging and SustainabilityAlcoholic beverage packaging trailed soft drinks by a large margin, taking up about 25% of all beverage packaging, with an expected 1.4% CAGR by 2025.

Despite standing so far behind soft drinks in beverage packaging, alcoholic beverages maintained the second-largest overall volume for both food and beverage packaging.

Hot drinks packaging was the least popular subcategory for beverages, making up about 1.6% of all beverage packaging volume. It led the beverage category in promise for growth, though, set for a CAGR of 2.1% by 2025.

Food Subcategories Divided, But with High Growth Potential

Food packaging is much more fragmented compared to beverages, with seven unique subcategories to split up packaging volume. The category was close behind beverages overall, though, taking up about 45% of all packaging volume at about 225 billion units in 2021.

Confectionery packaging was the leading subcategory for food packaging, at about 19% of all food packaging volume. It also had the greatest growth potential, with a 3.6% CAGR by 2025.

Dairy packaging fell close behind confectionery packaging, with about 18% of all food packaging volume. The dairy subcategory was relatively flat in terms of projected growth, though, with a CAGR of 0.3% by 2025.

Coming in third within the food category was savory snack packaging. It took up about 10% of all food packaging volume and held a CAGR of 0.9% by 2025.Food packaging volume is split among several subcategories.Food packaging volume is split among several subcategories.PMMI Business Intelligence, 2022 Future of Packaging and Sustainability

The baked goods, processed meat and seafood, and ready meals packaging subcategories all held a similar share of overall food packaging volume, at just under 8%. 

These categories differed most in their projected CAGRs. Ready meals packaging held the second highest CAGR of any food or beverage category at 2.6% by 2025. 

On the other hand, processed meat and seafood packaging was the only subcategory to see a dip in CAGR by 2025, at -0.4%.

Owing to the wide variety of food subcategories, the “other food packaging” category held a significant stake in overall food packaging volume, at 29.6%. These miscellaneous food packaging types had some growth potential too, with a 2% CAGR by 2025.

Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, 2022 Future of Packaging and Sustainability

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